“Stahl’s foreseeability and proximate cause principles are applicable only in the determination of the defendant’s liability for the initial adverse contact with the plaintiff.” Id. Please contact customerservices@lexology.com. Attorneys often use the eggshell skull rule when an at-fault driver’s negligence aggravates a victim’s pre-existing injury or condition. 13, 2009) (“Because ‘a tort-feasor takes his victim as he finds’ her, [the victim’s] anemia is relevant to the issue of damages, and thus this evidence is not excluded.”). 2d 1242, 1258 (M.D. Eggshell Economics: A Revolutionary Approach to the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule STEVE P. CALANDRILLO* & DUSTIN E. BUEHLERt For more than a century, courts have universally applied the eggshell plaintiff rule, which holds tortfeasors liable for the full extent of the harm inflicted on vulnerable "eggshell" victims. If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence actions of another party, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. due to a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition). However, the Court held the nature and extent of the son’s injury was irrelevant to their liability for damages. The Plaintiff’s medical evidence was that when he braced himself before the crash, the force of the impact was transferred through the steering wheel and up his forearms until it reached his previously asymptomatic arthritic elbow joints. He had previously worked in a gas industry, making him prone to cancer. For example, if I threw a tennis ball at force at your head, you might suffer a slight bruise or some discomfort. “It is the familiar but accurate doctrine that ‘the tort feasor takes the plaintiff as he finds him’ which is instead controlling.” Id. He was of the view that continuing issues were due to the ongoing progression of the osteoarthritis in his elbow. Have a Legal Question? The eggshell skull rule is by and large what refers to a plaintiff that has a pre-existing condition. at 943–44 (emphasis added). Eggshell and Thin-Skull rules throughout Europe’, including in France, Ireland, Greece and Austria. In particular, it considers matters such as whether the relevant law This doctrine is applied in accident cases, where the defendant aggravates a plaintiff’s existing condition. This is, in essence, the eggshell plaintiff rule. The Plaintiff maintained that while his generalised osteoarthritis had developed before the accident, the accident triggered symptoms in what was otherwise a dormant underlying condition that had never previously troubled him. Fla. 2007), “the Plaintiff’s evidence of emotional injury was fairly substantial and was corroborated by the testimony of his treating psychiatrist and other witnesses. “On this ground, the defendant beauty shop owner claims that since the extent of the plaintiff’s injury was thus ‘unforeseeable,’ the defendant is not liable.” Id. Understand your clients’ strategies and the most pressing issues they are facing. The "eggshell skull" rule makes the tortfeasor take his/her victim as s/he finds him. The Defendants accepted that, as a result of the accident, the Plaintiff had suffered both physical and psychological injuries. There was a considerable impact between the vehicles and both were written off after the accident. Ireland It is a long established rule of law that a tortfeasor will be held liable for the consequences of his negligent act, even if his victim suffers an unusually high level of damage. Gulisano Law, PLLC. The same rules still apply, no matter what they call the rule. In essence, this means that a claimant’s particular psychiatric injury does not need to be foreseeable – the mere fact that some psychiatric harm is foreseeable is enough to satisfy the criteria. The Eggshell Skull Rule The Eggshell Skull rule deals with plaintiffs that have pre-existing medical conditions. The eggshell skull rule applies even if the resulting injuries would inevitably have occurred sooner or later regardless of the defendant’s negligence. In short, the defendant is responsible for whatever adverse consequences the plaintiff suffers—whether they are “foreseeable” or not. The Plaintiff, Patrick Murphy, was injured when a vehicle driven by Francis Carey, an employee of Malone Engineering, turned across his path. (emphasis added). On mobile devices you can click the icon to the left to call Gulisano Law now. An eggshell is often used as a visual metaphor for the thin skull rule. Get a Free Consultation. Keep a step ahead of your key competitors and benchmark against them. The eggshell rule can apply to both criminal and civil cases. However, if the defendant can prove this would have been the case, it may have an impact on the amount of damages awarded. The “eggshell plaintiff” theory imagines a person who has a very thin (or “eggshell”) skull. The eggshell or thin skull rule is a common law principle applicable in tort law, which states that ‘you must take your victim as you find him’. 2d 943, 944 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988). Call Gulisano Law at 954-947-3972 for a free consultation. Some jurisdictions, attorneys, and judges refer to the eggshell plaintiff rule in a different way when it comes up in a personal injury lawsuit or another type of civil case. 5 [1975] 1 WLR 1411. 5645 Coral Ridge Drive, Suite 207 Before applying the eggshell skull rule, the following factors are first enacted into consideration that makes the plaintiff vulnerable to harm: Under the rule, you take an injured worker as you find him. Power up your legal research with modern workflow tools, AI conceptual search and premium content sets that leverage Lexology's archive of 900,000+ articles contributed by the world's leading law firms. Most people are familiar with the concept behind a personal injury case. The thin skull rule or more commonly known as the eggshell skull rule dictates that “you must take your victim as you find him”. 1984) (“There is almost universal agreement upon liability beyond the risk, for quite unforeseeable consequences, when they follow an impact upon the person of the plaintiff.”). The eggshell skull rule (AKA “egg shell rule” or “thin skull rule”) is a principle in civil law which states that all victims should be fully compensated for their losses, even in situations where the victim was more-susceptible to injury due to a … For example, in Richman, deputy sheriffs were sued for violating the federal constitutional rights of the plaintiff’s son who died resisting arrest. Become your target audience’s go-to resource for today’s hottest topics. The rule states that, in a tort case, the unexpected frailty of the injured person is not a valid defense to the seriousness of any injury caused to them. The Plaintiff realised the accident was inevitable and braced himself for impact by gripping the steering wheel with both hands. But the force used against him by the swarm of deputies accelerated his death; how soon he would have died from causes unrelated to the use of that force is relevant only to damages.” Id. The dispute between the parties centred on the extent of the Plaintiff’s physical injuries. The next generation search tool for finding the right lawyer for you. The Eggshell Skull Rule Explained. “The tortfeasor takes his victim as he finds him. Richman, 512 F.3d at 884. “They have no pertinence to the issue of whether, once that contact has occurred, the defendant is responsible for whatever adverse consequences the plaintiff suffers—whether they are ‘foreseeable’ or not.” Id. He was no longer able to take part in his former hobbies of golf, DIY and jogging. 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