eggshell skull rule

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The eggshell skull rule, also known as the thin skull rule, is a common law doctrine that makes a defendant liable for the plaintiff's unforeseeable and uncommon reactions to the defendant's negligent or intentional tort. If the defendant commits a tort against the plaintiff without a complete defense, the defendant becomes liable for any injury that is magnified by the plaintiff's peculiar characteristics. It is essential to emphasize that the eggshell skull doctrine does not entitle the plaintiff to compensation for an unrelated pre-existing injury.

A common example of this doctrine is that a person's skull was very thin due to the person’s own health condition, if the person gets into an accident, the other person who caused the accident will be liable for the actual damages, although the average person would not suffer the same serious injuries in the same accident as the person with the thin skull.

[Last updated in October of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]