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Representation For Pre-Existing Condition Cases

Injuries that a person sustained in a car wreck or other incident can take a heavy physical, emotional and financial toll on the victim. This toll can be even more severe if the person had any pre-existing conditions before they were involved in the accident. A recent result obtained by Maginnis Law’s attorneys gives a good example of this.

The Eggshell Skull Rule

North Carolina’s so-called Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, also known as the “Eggshell Skull” Rule, says that a defendant can be liable for all of the plaintiff’s injuries even if the plaintiff has a condition (physical or mental) that made them more susceptible to injury than a person in good health. This can either be a pre-existing injury or physical or mental condition.

When it comes to the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, a condition or symptom can be activated or exacerbated and aggravated. Activated means that there was some pre-existing, non-symptomatic condition. For instance, many people have pre-existing degenerative disc disease, but no symptoms. A bad tractor trailer accident could change that and make symptoms start. That is activation. Aggravation or exacerbation is when symptoms did exist prior, but they are made worse because of the wreck or incident. Notably, North Carolina does also have a rule called peculiar susceptibility. This rule in essence says that if a car accident or other incident was so minor that it would not have caused injury in any form, no matter how minor, to a person or of ordinary bodily susceptibility, then the defendant is not liable.

Maginnis Law’s head personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard recently settled a case for a Randolph County woman who was riding in the passenger seat while her fiancé was t-boned by a car that ran a red light. Due to the collision, our client had to have neck surgery. It was admitted that before the accident she had bad preexisting neck conditions that were already causing pain and radicular symptoms down her arm. The crash, however, significantly aggravated and exacerbated these problems to the point that she needed surgery.

Even though the client only had approximately $10,000 in medical expenses, Mr. Howard was able to recover $134,000 for his client, meaning that nearly $100,000 was recovered for pain and suffering and other general damages. This was all despite the insurance company claiming that her injuries were all pre-existing.

Insurance Coverage Issues

In obtaining the $134,000 result, Maginnis Law assisted their client in numerous complex insurance coverage issues. Mr. Howard’s client and her fiancé, the owner of the vehicle, both had an $100,000 underinsured motorist policy. In this case, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy through Allstate, paid out $50,000, the full limits of the policy. Mr. Howard’s client’s fiancé’s policy, through National General, paid out $50,000 (the limit it was required to pay under NC law after receiving a credit for the Allstate payment), and Mr. Howard’s own client’s policy, through GEICO, paid out the final $34,000.

Under-insured motorist coverage pays for some of your bodily injury claim when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to completely pay for your injuries and losses. In other words, underinsured motorist coverage can be used when the at-fault driver does not have the amount of coverage necessary to adequately pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Representation for Pre-Existing Condition Cases

If you have been injured and the insurance company is claiming that your injuries are all pre-existing, it is important to speak with an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney. This can be a complicated area of the law, in addition to the fact that dealing with insurance claims when you have pre-existing conditions can be extremely difficult.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to someone else’s negligence behind the wheel, contact the Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Law at 919.526.0450 or reach out to our lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, personally at 919.480.8526. You can also visit our contact page.