The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule: Why Is It Important?
When a person is involved in an accident many times that person has previous injuries, weaknesses, illnesses, or frailties of another kind. If that is the case, should the person who is at fault for causing the accident be at fault despite the increased likelihood that victim in the case could be injured not due to any fault of the person causing the accident? The answer to this question can be found in: The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule.
How Does It Work?
Let’s take a look at the following example: Driver A is traveling too closely to Driver B and runs into the back of them when Driver B breaks suddenly. This is nothing more than a run of the mill fender bender type accident. The problem is that Driver B had a tumor in their skull that they did not know about and the small impact of the collision caused them to go into a coma. Driver B was clearly more susceptible to serious injury than the average person.
The premise of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule is that the person responsible for their (usually negligent) actions that result in harm to another is responsible for all the consequences of those actions, even if the victim suffers an unusually high level of damages due to a pre-existing vulnerability.
So in the example above, Driver A is theoretically responsible for all the medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, possibly emotional distress, etc. of Driver B. Rather than just being responsible for what in another case might have been some minor bumper damage to Driver B’s car, here they are responsible for Driver B’s coma, and all that goes along with it.
Sure there are exceptions in every case. There could be partial liability of Driver B for breaking too suddenly when not necessary, etc. This was just meant as a very brief (and basic) explanation of a legal doctrine that comes up often in many of my personal injury cases that I thought I would share with you. Keep it in mind when out there driving!
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Stryder J. Wegener is the author of this article, the co-founder of Emerald City Law Group, and a damn good personal injury attorney.