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What Is the Thin Skull Rule in Texas Personal Injury Law?

A discussion of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule (Thin Skull Rule) And Its Effect On A Personal Injury Case

We've all met "sensitive" people in our lives---those who cannot take criticism, good-natured joking around, or any perceived slight about them. If you're like us, these folks can drive you crazy. But in personal injury cases, courts and juries do not feel sorry for negligent actors who happen to injure someone just because that person was naturally more sensitive to getting hurt. You may have heard this same theory described as the "Fragile Plaintiff," or "Eggshell Skull" theory.

The Eggshell Skull Rule stands for the proposition that negligent actors "take their victims as they find them." Despite its name, this theory does not refer only to preexisting medical conditions affecting the head, but states that, for the purposes of personal injury law, an injured party who is especially sensitive or susceptible to injury because of any preexisting condition or prior injury has the same rights to fully recover for his injuries as someone without that sensitivity or susceptibility.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What exactly is the thin skull rule?
  • How does the thin skull rule impact my Texas personal injury case?
  • How does the thin skull rule work under Texas law?

Implications of the Eggshell Skull Rule on your case.

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that leaves you more susceptible to personal injuries than those without the condition, you may be concerned that recovery for your injuries might be limited due to your medical condition. Thankfully, Texas law applies the Thin Skull Rule, and you should be compensated for the full extent of your injuries, regardless of your medical condition.

Note, however, that the defendant, his attorney, or his insurance company might try to play your disability against you during settlement negotiations or to intimidate you out of filing a lawsuit. Don't be fooled. In scenarios like these, retaining a tough, experienced personal injury attorney is invaluable in making sure that you are compensated fairly for your injuries.

under the Eggshell Skull Rule, defendants who are responsible for the injuries of another cannot claim as a defense that the plaintiff's injuries would not have been as severe had it not been for their preexisting sensitivity or condition. Additionally, a defendant will be prevented from limiting his liability to the extent of injury that his actions would have "normally" caused a healthier person. As commonly stated in this area of law, a defendant must "take his victim as he finds him," and is responsible for all consequences that arise from his actions, even if the injuries are far more severe than he could have reasonably foreseen.

An Example of How The Thin Skull Rule Works

An oft-cited example of a plaintiff whose injuries are covered by the eggshell plaintiff or Thin Skull Rule is one who suffers from hemophilia. This is a blood clotting disorder where, due to a genetic defect, one's blood lacks a crucial component that is required for blood to clot and for scabs to form. As a result, a hemophiliac may bleed excessively when injured, even when the same injury would only have caused minimal bleeding in someone who did not suffer from the condition.

To illustrate this point, imagine a scenario where someone with hemophilia is walking down the street with a friend without the condition, when they are both suddenly and simultaneously cut by a falling piece of glass from an office building above, and sustain the same injuries. The hemophiliac dies as a result, and the friend survives. If a court finds that the owner of the building was responsible for causing their injuries, the building owner will be fully responsible for damages resulting from both the death of the hemophiliac and the minor injuries suffered by the friend.

So, isn't it unfair to the building owner that for the same bad act, he ended up owing easily ten times the money to the hemophiliac than he did the other man? The answer is a simple no. Once a person makes a mistake, he doesn't get to hide behind your existing frailty.

You Need A Smart, Experienced Attorney to Ensure That Defendants Don't Take Advantage of Your Disability

If you've suffered personal injuries and are worried about your potential recovery because you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that makes you more vulnerable to injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney.

The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have 25 years of committed personal injury experience, and have consistently obtained favorable settlements and judgments. We are available any time, day or night, at (855) 326-0000.

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