Can I Pursue a Claim in New York If My Accident Aggravated My Pre-existing Medical Condition?

Can I Pursue a Claim in New York If My Accident Aggravated My Pre-existing Medical Condition? -Eggshell Skull Rule

Humans don’t live inside a bubble. We encounter any number of incidents and situations that may lead to accidents or injuries. Sometimes these injuries heal, and we move on with our lives. Sometimes these injuries heal but leave us more vulnerable to future trauma or injuries. Often, these injuries or medical complications are called pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, having a pre-existing condition can sometimes work against you following a motor vehicle accident with a careless New York driver. That’s why the “eggshell skull” rule exists: to account for the way pre-existing conditions can worsen new injuries. But what, exactly, is the eggshell skull rule, and how can it impact your motor vehicle accident claim?

The skilled New York City car accident lawyers with Finz & Finz, P.C. know how to leverage the eggshell skull rule to protect your rights, shield you from potentially unfair insurance company tactics, and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. If a careless New York motorist hurt you, contact our office today to arrange a free and confidential case evaluation.

What Is the “Eggshell Skull” Rule?

The eggshell skull rule is a common law doctrine that holds a defendant liable for an injured individual’s unforeseeable injuries following a careless accident. In practice, the eggshell skull rule simply means that pre-existing conditions or your past medical history cannot bar you from pursuing compensation for your injuries after an accident – even if those injuries would not have been as severe but for the pre-existing condition.

Consider the following scenarios. Two individuals are involved in an accident. One person previously suffered a head injury, making their skull more vulnerable to blunt force trauma. The other individual has no pre-existing conditions. Both are hurt in the collision. However, the person with the pre-existing condition suffers more extensive injuries. The eggshell skull doctrine states that the person with the pre-existing condition can pursue compensation for their actual losses, although they did not suffer the same injury severity as the other individual. The eggshell skull rule protects those with pre-existing conditions that may make them more vulnerable than other individuals.

How Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Impact Motor Vehicle Accident Claims?

New York follows a no-fault car insurance system. After a collision, you file a claim with your insurance provider instead of the other driver’s, even if they were to blame. Only if you suffer a “serious injury,” as defined by state law, can you pursue a claim against an at-fault driver. In either scenario, you will likely be going up against an insurance company, asking for it to compensate you fairly for what you’ve suffered. 

Insurance companies are for-profit companies. Their goal is to keep payouts low and profits high. One tactic that may help accomplish this goal is to offer less financial compensation to an injured individual because a pre-existing medical condition leads to more severe injuries, thus more expensive or extensive medical treatment. The eggshell skull rule protects individuals with medical conditions or past injuries that may have made them vulnerable to severe injuries following a collision.

It is vital to know that the eggshell skull doctrine does not make an individual eligible for compensation for a previous illness or injury, only for the damage caused or exacerbated by an accident with a careless motorist. The eggshell skull rule applies only to physical injuries, not emotional damages or pain and suffering.

Compensation for New York Car Accidents 

If a careless New York motorist has injured you, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and financial losses. The overall value of your compensation can vary depending on the nature of the crash and the severity of your injuries. However, most accident victims can pursue money for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

You could be entitled to more compensation if a pre-existing condition worsened the effects of your current injury. A seasoned New York car accident lawyer can review your situation and evaluate the fair value of your losses. 

Recovering the Compensation You Deserve 

How can you recover the compensation you deserve following a motor vehicle accident in New York? Evidence is the key to any claim. In particular, your medical records may be vital to helping your attorney recover the compensation you need for your medical expenses. Always seek medical attention immediately after a motor vehicle accident and contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

The legal team with Finz & Finz, P.C. is committed to pursuing maximum compensation for your injuries while you focus on recovering. We investigate the cause of the accident, collect vital evidence to strengthen your case, and aggressively negotiate with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Often, insurance adjusters attempt to offer settlements far below the value of the underlying claim, especially in cases involving pre-existing conditions. They may even try to contest the validity of your claim. An attorney can fight back against these tactics, protecting your rights and fighting for the money you need. Never attempt to hide a previous injury or medical condition. This strategy can backfire and jeopardize your claim. Be honest and upfront with your attorney about any medical conditions that may impact your claim.

Contact a Skilled New York Accident Attorney Today 

Do not let an insurer or anyone else convince you that you are entitled to less than you deserve just because of a pre-existing medical condition. Following a New York motor vehicle accident, you can pursue compensation for your medical expenses, even if your injuries are more severe because of a previous medical condition or injury. Allow the experienced personal injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. to help you pursue the money you deserve.

Our results speak for themselves. We have recovered over a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients and have a long track record of obtaining favorable outcomes for those injured in New York accidents. Contact our New York office today to arrange a free and confidential case review. Let us outline your legal options and help you understand your rights.


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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.