There are instances where a Maryland injury victim has a condition that may increase the severity of damages after an accident. The law frequently refers to these individuals as “eggshell plaintiffs.” The colloquial term “eggshell plaintiff” derives from comparing a person with a typical skull to one with a fragile skull. The theory being that if a defendant causes injuries to a plaintiff with an “eggshell” skull, the defendant would still be liable, even though the plaintiff’s skull was especially vulnerable, compared to that of the average population. In essence, these individuals possess an underlying or complicating health condition that makes a recovery from an accident more difficult.
In many cases, these plaintiffs suffer more significant injuries and damages. However, under Maryland law, a defendant must take the plaintiff or injury victim as they find them. The at-fault party is liable for whatever harm they cause, regardless of what the plaintiff suffered from before the act. Although the law requires defendants to “take plaintiffs as they are,” insurance companies continue to deny claims, often arguing that the accident victim’s injuries are related to a pre-existing condition and not the triggering event. Despite insurance companies’ reluctance to adopt this idea, this principle applies to victims with pre-existing conditions, as well.
For example, a recent national news report described an incident where a teen died after COVID-19 complicated his car accident recovery. According to reports, the 17-year-old suffered multiple fractures and other injuries in a car accident. However, medical reports indicate that the teenager also tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus. The virus left the teenager with weakness in his lungs, which prevented him from fully recovering from the car accident. Although details of the crash are still under investigation, doctors indicated that the teenager succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the car accident.
In cases such as this, at-fault parties and insurance companies often try and claim that they should not be responsible for wrongful death or heightened damages because the plaintiff was suffering from a pre-existing or unrelated condition. However, this is contrary to Maryland law, and the at-fault party should be held responsible, despite the victim’s pre-existing condition. Many victims feel that they must conceal pre-existing conditions; however, under the law, these parties are still entitled to compensation for their damages. Injury victims should contact an attorney to discuss the best way to approach adversarial insurance companies and reluctant negligent parties.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maryland Accident?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Maryland motor vehicle accident, contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. Our law firm attorneys have extensive experience successfully resolving complicated personal injury cases stemming from accidents related to motor vehicle collisions, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and defective products or devices. Our attorneys have a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of complicated tort laws that may impact a client’s recovery, and we have recovered significant amounts of compensation on behalf of countless clients across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact our law firm at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our office.