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Boston Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > What is an “Eggshell Plaintiff?”

What is an “Eggshell Plaintiff?”


We all have different bodies. We have different musculatures, different medical histories—our insides and our internal systems are as different as how different we look from the outside. Despite that fact, many of us are still surprised that all of our bodies react very differently to the same type of accident or impact on our bodies.

Comparing Victims

Let’s take a typical rear end car accident, and compare 2 hypothetical victims.

Victim 1 gets out of the car after impact, and she is fine. A little achy perhaps, but generally, with no long lasting or serious injuries.

Now let’s assume that Victim 2 gets into the exact same car accident—same cars, same impact at the same seed. Unlike Victim 1, Victim 2 immediately feels very serious pain. Victim 2 is in immediate need of medical attention. After the accident, traumatized, Victim 2 suffers from PTSD. Later, Victim 2 will need epidural shots in her back because of the accident.

Can Victim 2 recover for all of her injuries? Or could the Defendant say that Victim 2 is “too sensitive,” or that Victim 2 is more injured than she should be, especially given that other people (like Victim 1) just walked away from the very same accident?

The Eggshell Plaintiff

The answer lies in the doctrine called the Eggshell Plaintiff.

The Eggshell Plaintiff doctrine says that a Defendant takes a victim as the Defendant finds the victim, even if the victim is delicate, “like an eggshell.” If the Defendant happens to injure someone frail, or delicate or sensitive to pain or with some condition that exacerbates her injuries, the Defendant must make full compensation to that victim. The Defendant cannot say that the victim is “more injured than she should be.”

The Elderly

Often, Eggshell Plaintiff cases come into play when elderly people are injured. An elderly person may need a minor surgery, and then never fully recover from that surgery. They may be particularly traumatized by car accidents, and suffer heart attacks and other similar problems.

The first thing that a Defendant will say, is that the person’s injuries are not caused by the accident—and yes, a victim still needs to prove causation. But if they are in fact caused by the accident, the fact the victim has suffered more serious injuries than what would be expected or than what someone else would suffer, is of no import.

Pre-Existing Injuries

Note that a Defendant can still defend a case on the basis of pre-existing injuries, which is another way of saying that the victim’s injuries are not caused by the accident. But once again—so long as causation is proven, the severity of the injuries is not something that a victim can be “punished” for.

Whatever your injury after an accident, we can help. Don’t let the Defendant blame you for your own injuries or accident.  Call the Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for help with your injuries after any kind of accident.




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