California Man Injured in Low-Speed Crash Wins $1M Verdict in ‘Eggshell Plaintiff’ Case

A man injured in a rear-end accident won his case and a $1 million verdict in Los Angeles County recently, according to a report. Even though the accident was a low-speed one, the injured driver still recovered more than $960,000 in pain and suffering damages because he had a preexisting condition that made his pain and suffering much worse. The outcome of this case demonstrates that having a preexisting condition that makes you especially susceptible to harm doesn’t prevent you from recovering the full amount of your damages.

The accident victim in this case was W.D., a 65-year-old student, who was rear-ended at a low speed by E.M. while both were traveling in the farthest left of the southbound lanes of the Harbor Freeway. W.D.’s sedan suffered only minor damage, and, when police responded to the accident, W.D. stated that he was not injured and refused an ambulance.

A few days later, however, W.D. went to a chiropractor about his neck pain. A few months after that initial visit, he underwent an MRI that showed two disc herniations at C5-6 and C6-7 and a third one at L5-S1. Due to W.D.’s heart problems and diabetic neuropathy, he was not a good candidate for decompression surgery. Instead, W.D.’s neurosurgeon recommended a mixture of physical therapy, acupuncture, and pain management therapy.

W.D. sued E.M. for his injuries. W.D. alleged in his lawsuit that he had incurred $41,000 in past medical expenses and that his preexisting susceptibility to pain meant that he had already suffered extensive pain and suffering, with much more pain and suffering in the future.

Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in excess of $1 million. W.D. received $41,000 in past medical expenses, along with another $37,000 in future medical expenses. The lion’s share of W.D.’s damages were pain and suffering, for which the jury awarded $195,000 for past pain and suffering and $768,000 in future pain and suffering.

The success of W.D.’s case, particularly with regard to his pain and suffering award, is an example of what’s known as the “eggshell plaintiff” rule. California is one of the states that recognizes the common law rule, which says, basically, that a person who injures another person through their negligence (or other tortious conduct) takes the victim as they find them. What does that mean? That means that, if you are someone who is prone to being injured or prone to an abnormally high degree of pain and suffering due to some preexisting condition, you are still entitled to recover the full measure of the damages you suffered, and the person who injured you is not allowed to avoid liability simply because of your preexisting condition.

To make sure that you seek the full amount of compensation you deserve for the harm you suffered in an auto accident caused by someone else, you need skilled and experienced injury counsel on your case. The diligent San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have been helping injured people pursue the compensation they deserve for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

California Teen’s Excessive Speed Leads Jury to Hand Out $5M Judgment in U-Turn Accident, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Dec. 7, 2016

California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Plaintiffs in Suit Based on Dangerous Condition of Public Property, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Dec. 29, 2015

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