What Is the Eggshell Skull Doctrine in Ohio Personal Injury Cases?

The eggshell skull doctrine – also known as the “thin skull rule” – is an important aspect of personal injury cases in Ohio. Under this philosophy, plaintiffs with pre-existing conditions or physical infirmities can still pursue compensation for their injuries after an accident. Moreover, the damages will be adjusted to fit the needs of the eggshell skull plaintiff, particularly because their injuries can be so catastrophic.

This crucial doctrine can ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your car accident or personal injury case, even if you have a condition that renders you more vulnerable to injury. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A., our Toledo litigators are tenacious in pursuing full and fair recovery for injury victims. With over 100 years of experience, we can apply the eggshell skull doctrine in your case and seek proper compensation.

The Principles Behind the Eggshell Skull Doctrine

Over the years, many defendants have tried to argue that plaintiffs who have a pre-existing condition or vulnerability are not entitled to higher compensation, as the defendant had no way of knowing that the individual in jeopardy would have a particular ailment. For instance, if a plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, but had already experienced a concussion earlier that year, the defendant might try to claim that they were too vulnerable to brain injury.

Thankfully, the courts have most often disagreed with this kind of defense, arguing that the defendant “takes the plaintiff as [he/she] finds them." After all, if the defendant was committing some form of negligence, it doesn’t matter if that negligence results in a minor spinal cord injury or total paralysis: They can still be considered responsible for the victim’s losses.

When Is the Eggshell Skull Doctrine Applied?

The eggshell skull doctrine is typically used in fault-based liability cases, such as a slip-and-fall or a car accident. However, it can also be used in certain “strict liability” claims, such as product liability or felony crimes.

Another important thing to note about the eggshell skull doctrine is that it doesn’t change the duty of care owed by the defendant. While the defendant may be ruled responsible for causing a car accident, they do not have to take a greater legal duty of care to protect an eggshell plaintiff than they normally would. Additionally, the damages may be adjusted depending on the degree to which the plaintiff's injuries were exacerbated.

Ready to Represent Ohio Clients

At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A., we stand ready to assist plaintiffs of all backgrounds, ages, and needs. If you were suffering from a medical condition that was exacerbated by negligence, you could still have grounds for a lawsuit – and our team will help you navigate that terrain. Tough and principled, our lawyers never back down from a complex legal challenge.

Call (419) 318-0772 for more information.

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