Eggshell Skull Doctrine: How it applies to Ohio personal injury cases

By Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer David M. Chester

Whether you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, defective product, or during a medical procedure due to another person’s carelessness, you will have to deal with the insurance company of the at fault party and the insurance adjuster assigned to your case before any kind of compensation is provided to you.

The insurance adjuster has one goal, to settle as many claims as quickly and for as cheaply as possible.

In doing so, insurance adjusters use many tactics to get injured claimants and inexperienced attorneys to settle claims for less than they are worth. This is exactly why you need an experienced Ohio personal injury law firm like Chester Law Group Co., LPA to represent you in an Ohio personal injury claim.

One of the arguments used by adjusters involves a situation where the person injured was in a weakened state making them susceptible to injuries. For example, a small child or elderly person involved in a car accident may sustain torn ligaments in their neck requiring a year of therapy and thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Someone in the same accident, however, who was in a stronger physical state, such as a teenager or football player, may only require a few weeks of therapy or possibly not sustained any injuries at all. In the first example, the person requires more medical attention and takes longer to heal. The insurance adjuster may argue that the treatment was excessive and refuse to pay for all of the medical bills.

However, the law in Ohio states that the at-fault party (their insurance company) is liable for placing the plaintiff in the position they were in prior to the injury.

The eggshell skull doctrine or thin skull doctrine states that the liable party is required to place the plaintiff in the position they were in prior to the accident even if the victim suffers from an unusually high amount of damage due to a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition.

In other words, the person at fault takes the victim as he/she finds them. This makes sense in that the injuries sustained by the victim would not have occurred without the liable party’s carelessness.

The fact that their carelessness results in unusually high damages should not be held against the victim. The eggshell skull doctrine simply means that some people are an “eggshell” so to speak and therefore are injured when others would not be, and that the party at fault must pay for these injuries regardless of whether an average person would have been injured.