The Thin Skull Doctrine (or Eggshell skull rule) is a common rule in the United States that a negligent offender who causes injury to another cannot complain or reduce their responsibility if the victim has some weakened condition. The thin skull or eggshell skull rule refers to the example where a victim with a frail skull is struck by a negligent actor, the negligent party cannot benefit from the victims pre-existing condition of a thin skull.
How does the Thin Skull Doctrine apply to a Legionnaires’ disease case?
In the examples of victims of legionnaires disease, the predominant victims are those with pre-existing frailties such as weakened immune systems, lung impairments or the elderly. The average person may believe that the victim’s serious condition would not have been so bad had the person been in much better health, and therefore penalize the victim from a full recovery. However, the law does not provide for that defense. The law is clear on this point that the negligent party takes the victim as they find him, and are responsible for the entire resulting consequences of their actions. Stated another way, the tortfeasor is not entitled to a perfectly healthy victim, and are responsible for the total resulting injury that is sustained by the victim.