The thin skull rule, also known as the eggshell plaintiff rule, is a legal concept in tort cases that prevents defendants from using a victim’s vulnerabilities or pre-existing conditions as a defense. According to this principle, victims are entitled to full compensation for their losses, regardless of any unforeseen damages caused by a pre-existing condition. In cases where a defendant’s negligence exacerbates a victim’s pre-existing condition, accident and personal injury attorneys may apply this rule to seek appropriate compensation for their clients.
How the Thin Skull Rule Works:
The term “thin skull” refers to a concept where an individual’s physical condition, such as having a fragile skull, is unknown to the person causing harm. In such cases, if an assailant or wrongdoer causes injury to the victim’s head, resulting in a fractured skull, they would still be held responsible for the damages, regardless of whether they could have foreseen the extent of the injuries caused by the pre-existing condition.
The thin skull rule establishes that defendants must accept victims as they are, without speculating on the potential damages that could have occurred if the victim did not have a pre-existing condition or “normal” health. This rule ensures that victims are protected from vulnerabilities that are beyond their control in cases such as car accidents or other incidents.
How it Works in Accident Cases:
When an accident exacerbates a pre-existing condition or causes unusually severe injuries related to that condition, the injury victim may have the opportunity to pursue full compensation for all damages caused by a negligent party. However, defendants in such cases may try to leverage the victim’s condition to intimidate or pressure them into accepting a smaller settlement or avoiding legal action altogether. It is important for victims to be aware of their rights and seek the guidance of a skilled attorney to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
In cases involving the application of the thin skull rule, it is crucial for victims to safeguard their medical documentation, bills, and driving records and refrain from sharing them until they have legal representation. If the case proceeds to trial, the judge will consider arguments from both sides’ attorneys and determine the relevance and applicability of the thin skull rule to the situation. By working with an experienced attorney, victims can ensure that their rights are protected and that their case is effectively presented in court.
Currently, the thin skull rule is limited to physical injuries and does not extend to mental and emotional health. However, as technology advances, there may come a time when it becomes possible to assess how a plaintiff’s mental and emotional well-being may have influenced the extent of their injuries after an accident. It is important to stay informed about any potential changes or advancements in this area of law as they may have implications for personal injury cases in the future.