By: Matthew Tievsky
Maryland, like the country in general, follows what is called the "eggshell
skull rule." The idea is that if you are unusually vulnerable to
being injured – as if you had a skull that was eggshell-thin –
and, as a result, someone else negligently injures you, then the wrongdoer
is liable for the full damages you suffer (even if a healthier person
would have come out unscathed).
This has important consequences when it comes to auto accidents. For example,
if you had a pre-existing neck or back condition that was causing you
pain, and then another car hits you and puts you in more pain, then the
wrongdoer is liable for the increased pain you are suffering. Or, if due
to age your back was in less than 100% health but you were pain-free,
but then after the auto accident you began suffering pain, then the wrongdoer
is responsible for all the pain you begin feeling.
Defense attorneys are fond of looking at post-accident X-rays and pointing
out (especially with our older clients) that our clients already had "degenerative
conditions," meaning age-related deterioration of the spinal column.
That's true, but as we always point out in return, it doesn't
matter. A client's degenerative condition simply means that he or
she was more vulnerable to suffering the injuries that the wrongdoer caused.
If you have any questions about what injuries can and can't be legally
proven to have been caused by an auto accident, you should contact the
personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.