My car wreck made a pre-existing injury worse: Do I still have a claim?


In Georgia, we have what’s called the “eggshell plaintiff” rule. This means that an at-fault driver in a car wreck takes the injured person as he or she finds them.

For example, if you happen to rear-end a 21 year old defensive lineman who is not injured because he is all muscle, then you got off lucky. Good for you.

But, if you happen to rear-end a car like one driven by a couple of our most recent clients, then the story is different. Our clients were a married couple in their 80s, with a host of health conditions. In that situation, you take the plaintiffs, or injured people, as you find them.

However, that does not mean that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not attempt to use pre-existing conditions to deny coverage or to pay less on the claim. In other words, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will attempt to argue that any injuries supposedly suffered due to the car wreck were already there.

In the case of our elderly clients, they had so many health problems with their spine and bones, that they were told by their doctor that the next fall could potentially paralyze them. That is how weak their bodies were.

They were rear-ended on a back road with clear liability on the at-fault driver. However, the insurance company denied the claim, arguing that the injuries were already present before the wreck. As mentioned, this is very common.

We had several of their doctors review the medical records, particularly those after the wreck, and presented the at-fault driver’s insurance company with several affidavits attesting to the fact that this wreck severely, and unquestionably, exacerbated their pre-existing injuries. We put them on notice of the Georgia ‘eggshell plaintiff’ rule. Because of this, the insurance company tendered the full policy limit, which was in the six figure range.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, and you’re injury has made a pre-existing condition worse, it is important that you call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers today.