Permanent Link: What Does Florida’s “Eggshell Plaintiff” Rule Mean?

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Lawyers often like to find ways of saying things that are not easily recognizable to those who have not studied the law.  

Lawyers like to use Latin a lot. Phrases like prima facie and res ipsa loquitor are particularly popular ones. (Incidentally, prima facie means “first view” or “first appearance,” normally used to describe the basic proof a person needs to make a legal case; and res ipsa loquitor means “the thing speaks for itself,” typically used to describe a situation in which the circumstances are clear that someone must have been negligent to result in a person’s injury – like something falling off of the building.)

Sometimes, however, lawyers like to use phrases in English that still would not make much sense to the average listener at first blush. The term “eggshell plaintiff” is one of those phrases. However, once you have learned what the phrase refers to, then it makes perfect sense.  

It is unclear whether it is for job security, or whether lawyers like to feel smart by using certain “terms of art” that don’t seem to make a lot of sense to non-lawyers. Yet, you should rest assured that once you are given the key to what a “legalese” term or phrase means, then you will know exactly what is going on in your case.  

Accordingly, in this article, we are going to discuss what Florida’s “eggshell plaintiff” rule is, and how it might impact a personal injury case. If after reading this blog, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact the personal injury attorneys in Stuart, FL at Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Our personal injury attorneys in Stuart are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation. Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form

What is the “Eggshell Plaintiff” Rule?

The “eggshell plaintiff” rule has everything to do with preexisting conditions. That is to say that an accident that causes injury, like a car accident, can impact different people in different ways.  

A car accident could result in minor injuries to a young person with no preexisting conditions, and yet the same car accident could result in very serious injuries to an older person if the accident exacerbated that older person’s preexisting conditions.  

The person with preexisting conditions is often referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff.” That is because he or she is more sensitive to an accident. Thus, that person is, so to speak, more “fragile” or more easily “breakable.” Hence, we have the term “eggshell plaintiff.”

So, what is the “eggshell plaintiff” rule? The rule states that the negligent party – i.e., the person who caused the accident – do not get to claim that the injured person’s preexisting condition excuses their negligent conduct. 

Rather, a jury deciding a personal injury case should attempt to take into account the injured victim’s preexisting condition when awarding damages. Yet, if the jury cannot make a distinction between what injury would have normally occurred from the accident if the victim did not have preexisting conditions and the victim’s actual damages, then the jury is encouraged to award damages for all of the victim’s injuries, regardless of preexisting conditions.  

When Does the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule Apply?

The eggshell plaintiff rule is used in Florida, and many states in the U.S.  It applies in many situations, including:

1. When an injury starts up a condition that was previously dormant in the victim;
2. When an injury aggravates a condition that was under control;
3. When an injury worsens a preexisting defect, disease, or disorder; and
4. When an injury accelerates someone’s death or disability. 

Even though this article essentially explains what the “eggshell plaintiff” rule in Florida means conceptually, there are many complexities to the rule in practice. That is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney in Stuart to help guide you through your own personal injury case.  Indeed, having a seasoned personal injury attorney in your corner when you have been injured in an accident will ensure that you maximize the compensation you receive in personal injury damages.  

Let the Personal Injury Attorneys in Stuart, at Crary Buchanan, Help with Your Personal Injury Case

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation. Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence. Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways. A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent. When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained. You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs. Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages. If you or someone you love suffered an injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan. We want to help you recover the money you need.

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law. You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry.  

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations. Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations. When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

There is no need to be intimidated by making a personal injury claim after an auto or truck accident when you have the support of the talented team at Crary Buchanan. If you have more questions or want a dedicated personal injury attorney to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form. You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust. Call today.