Not every driver and passenger is physically similar. Just as everyone has a unique set of physical features, like eye and hair color, each person’s health is a bit different. Some individuals involved in a car accident will have no pre-existing health conditions. Others will suffer from serious illnesses or conditions. This means similar collisions will not cause the same types of injuries. If one person has brittle bone disease, hemophilia, or another serious condition, then a relatively minor or moderate collision could result in that individual suffering catastrophic injuries no one could expect. The driver who caused the accident will be responsible for all of that individual’s injuries even though they are more extreme than could be anticipated. People who are negligent and hurt others must take the victims as they come. This is known as the eggshell skull rule.
Understanding the Eggshell Skull Rule
Under Texas personal injury law, individuals who cause injury due to their negligence are responsible for all of their victim’s injuries – even those that are unexpected or rare. It does not matter if someone has a pre-existing medical condition or vulnerability that made his or her injuries worse than they would have been in other circumstances. It does not matter that the consequences of the accident appear disproportionate compared to the severity of the accident.
However, there are a few exceptions in which the negligent party may not be wholly liable for an accident victim’s injuries:
- Comparative negligence: Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which states that when a victim is 51 percent or more responsible for his or her own actions, he or she cannot recover compensation for the accident. However, if that individual is 50 percent or less responsible, he or she is entitled to recover compensation reduced by his or her percentage of fault. This rule may apply to victims with pre-existing conditions in a unique way. For example, if the victim knew he or she had a condition that could make injuries more severe yet was not properly treating the condition, such as taking the prescribed medication, he or she may be partly responsible for the severity of the injuries.
- Intervening causes: An intervening cause is an event that occurs after the original accident and causes additional injury to the victim or aggravates the victim’s initial injury from the accident. The individual responsible for the accident is not liable for the injuries caused by the intervening cause because these would not have been foreseeable. You can also think of it this way: the intervening event breaks the chain of causation. It steps in and becomes responsible for what happens next.
Were You Severely Hurt in an Accident Due to a Medical Condition?
If you were severely injured in an accident in part because of a pre-existing medical condition, then you may have to fight twice as hard to gain the compensation you deserve. Despite what an insurer may imply or tell you, the negligent party is responsible for all of your injuries – even if they could not have been expected or are rare. The Bettersworth Law Firm has years of experience in helping individuals recover the maximum compensation they deserve after an accident. Call our passionate New Braunfels personal injury attorneys today to schedule a consultation and learn about your rights.