What is the eggshell theory?

Asked by: Dr. Rollin Williamson  |  Last update: July 28, 2022
Score: 4.8/5 (4 votes)

The “eggshell skull rule” is a legal doctrine related to injury cases. It states that a defendant's liability will not be reduced just because the plaintiff is more susceptible to injuries.

What is the eggshell skull theory?

Doctrine that makes a defendant liable for the plaintiff's unforeseeable and uncommon reactions to the defendant's negligent or intentional tort.

What is the eggshell law?


The basic principle of the eggshell skull rule is that the Defendant in a civil case must take full responsibility for all the damages that they caused to the victim, regardless of the fact that the particular Plaintiff was more susceptible than a normal person may have been.

What is an eggshell victim?

The answer lies in what is known as the Eggshell Plaintiff doctrine. The doctrine says that a negligent defendant takes the victim as he or she finds the victim–even a victim that is as fragile or delicate as an eggshell. In other words, a defendant may injure someone who is very sturdy, and who heals very quickly.

Does eggshell rule apply in criminal law?

This type of highly susceptible plaintiff is commonly known as an “eggshell plaintiff.” The eggshell-plaintiff doctrine applies to all areas of the law – intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, and criminal law.

The Egg - A Short Story

23 related questions found

What is crumbling skull in law?

It holds that where a plaintiff had a condition or injury that predates the tort and would have naturally deteriorated or worsened over time (e.g. a crumbling skull), the defendant is not responsible to the degree that the condition or injury would have naturally worsened over time.

What is an eggshell plaintiff and to what extent is the defendant responsible for his/her injuries?

When a plaintiff can show that his pre-existing condition was made worse because of the defendant's negligence, the law invokes a rule referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff.” This rule says that the defendant must “take his plaintiff as he finds him.” In other words, the defendant in a personal injury case is ...

What is the eggshell skull rule criminal law?

There is an old rule in Law known as the “Eggshell Skull Rule” which basically states that a Defendant in proceedings for Personal Injury must take the Claimant as he finds him.

What is eggshell defense?

(redirected from Eggshell Defense) A rule that holds a tortfeasor liable for all consequences resulting from a tortious and/or negligent act that led to the injury of another person, regardless of whether the victim was unusually susceptible to harm.

Does the eggshell skull rule apply to emotional injuries?

As of now, however, the eggshell skull rule does not apply to emotional injuries. It is only usable as a doctrine in physical injury claims. That does not, however, mean you will be unable to obtain fair compensation for your emotional injuries after an accident.

What does take your victim as you find them mean?

The eggshell skull rule simply means that just because a victim is more vulnerable to suffering death/serious injury does not mean that the defendant should not be convicted. This is because being vulnerable to death does not break the chain of causation. Their knowledge of the victim's condition is irrelevant.

What are the 5 elements of negligence?

Doing so means you and your lawyer must prove the five elements of negligence: duty, breach of duty, cause, in fact, proximate cause, and harm.

What is an eggshell fracture?

Eggshell has an unusual combination of mechanical properties (low fracture toughness combined with high Young's modulus), making it ideally suited as a container for the developing chick, which must be stiff and rigid but also brittle enough to be broken when required.

Who is a tortfeasor in law?

A tortfeasor is one who commits a tort. accidents & injuries (tort law)

What is the theory of novus actus Interveniens?

Novus actus interveniens is a Latin legal phrase, which describes an important principle in criminal and civil procedure in as far as causation and liability is concerned. Loosely translated it means 'new intervening act'.

What is the thin skull rule give an example of when it would apply?

For example, if a victim suffered a previous injury that resulted in treatment for chronic pain, then the victim gets into an accident and brings up their chronic pain again, a judge may see this as a physiological crutch, holding[UP2] onto the pain caused by another accident, instead of damages caused by this current ...

What is the most difficult element of negligence to prove?

Many articles discuss what negligence is and how to prove it, but the least understood element among these four is causation. Additionally, out of these four elements, causation is typically the most difficult to prove, especially in medical malpractice cases.

What is the simplest tort?

Breach is the simplest of the four elements.

What are the 4 conditions that must be met for a breach of statutory duty?

There must be a statutory duty owed to the claimant, there must be a breach of that duty by the defendant, there must be damage to the claimant, and that damage must have been caused by the breach of the statutory duty.

What's the thin skull rule?

The principle that dictates that a defendant is liable for the full extent of the harm or loss to the claimant even where it is of a more significant extent than would have been expected, due to a pre-existing condition or circumstance of the claimant.

Why is it called the thin skull rule?

The thin skull rule, also known as the “egg- shell rule”, is a well-established principle in both English tort and criminal law. In Owens v Liverpool Corp [1939] 1KB 394, it was held that “it is no answer to a claim for a fractured skull that the owner had an unusually fragile one”.

What is a thick skull rule?

This rule holds that a tortfeasor is liable for all consequences resulting from their tortious (usually negligent) activities leading to an injury to another person, even if the victim suffers an unusually high level of damage (e.g. due to a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition).

Does the thin skull rule break the chain of causation?

So the refusal of your victim to treatment would not relieve you of liability in the thin skull rule. And so it wouldn't break the chain of causation.

What are the two types of causation?

There are two types of causation in the law: cause-in-fact, and proximate (or legal) cause. Cause-in-fact is determined by the "but for" test: But for the action, the result would not have happened. (For example, but for running the red light, the collision would not have occurred.)

How do you use but for test?

Spanning both civil and criminal law, the but for test broadly asks: “But for the actions of the defendant (X), would the harm (Y) have occurred?” If Y's existence depends on X, the test is satisfied and causation demonstrated. If Y would have happened regardless of X, the defendant cannot be liable.