Recently I was putting together a settlement demand for a client who had been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident for which she required extensive treatment, including surgery. Her concern was that since she had been hurt in an accident many years ago as a child, that her current health issues would be attributed to that crash rather than the most recent one.
Fortunately for her, Florida long ago adopted the "Eggshell Plaintiff" Rule, which states that where a defendant causes injury to a plaintiff who is in a weakened physical state due to a pre-existing condition, the defendant is responsible for the full extent of the injuries which result. In other words, the defendant cannot use the pre-existing condition as a defense - the defendant "takes the victim as he finds him".
Damages can be measured in a number of ways:
1. The incident :wakes up" a pre-existing condition which the plaintiff may not even have known existed;
2. The incident re-activates a known condition which has been successfully treated in the past;
3. The incident exacerbates a pre-existing condition for which the plaintiff was receiving treatment at the time of the accident.
So if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, a fall or other mishap caused by the negligence of a third party, do not fear that your rights to recover damages are compromised by past or ongoing physical impairments. Your treating physicians and, if necessary, expert medical witnesses can review your past and present treatment records to assist in determining the full measure of your damages. Please call the Heyman Law Firm is you have any questions.
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