The Fragile Egg Plaintiff (and a bad poem)
The "thin skull" or "egg shell" plaintiff stems from this English case.
“If a man is negligently run over or otherwise negligently injured in his body, it is no answer to the sufferer’s claim for damage that he would have suffered less injury, or no injury at all, if he had not had an unusually thin skull or an unusually weak heart.”
Dulieu v. White and Sons, 2 KB 669 (1901).
The rule means an injured person should recover full compensation for all harms and losses that proximately result from a defendant's tortious act, even if some or all of the injuries might not have occurred but for the plaintiff's pre-existing physical condition, disease, or susceptibility to injury. The primary policy reason for this doctrine is that as between the innocent victim and the negligent tortfeasor, the latter should answer for their negligent actions. Without such an instruction, the inference or, indeed, the overt argument might prevail that the injured party's predisposition to injury was a defense for the defendant
Legalese can get quite confusing at times. So, here is my way of explaining this rule:
Humpty Dumpty was a bit fragile
But her little issues didn’t stop her from being agile
Until one day somebody quite careless
Knocked her down causing severe distress
Perhaps she might have eventually cracked
Even without that great big whack
But guesses don’t count when applying the law
You take your victim as you find ‘em
When you cause them to fall.