Florida Accident Injury Damages and the Concept of the Eggshell Skull

May 1, 2010

Every first year Florida law student is taught the concept of the Plaintiff with the "Eggshell Skull".

The proposition is that the Defendant [in an accident case] is responsible for the full extent of the injuries sustained by such Plaintiff even if the degree of damage suffered is more than would be suffered by the average person. In other words, if the Plaintiff was predisposed to suffer an injury or if the injury suffered is worse than it would have been for the average person, the Defendant must compensate the Plaintiff to the full extent of the injuries.

In the example of the Plaintiff with the eggshell, or especially thin/fragile skull, the Defendant, whose negligence caused this Plaintiff to bump his/her head and sustain a fractured skull, is responsible for the fracture even if the worst that would have happened to the average person was a small bump on the head. Put another way, a Defendant "takes the plaintiff as he finds him," including any pre-existing weaknesses or susceptibility to injury including a weakness caused by a previous injury or pre-existing condition.

The concept, which has been recognized in various forms by Florida courts - Hamblen v. Owens, 127 Fla. 91, 172 So. 694 (1937); Sterling Equipment Mfg. Corp. v May, 144 So.2d 305, Fla., July 18, 1962; Poole v. Lowell Dunn Co., 573 So. 2d 51, 54 (Fla. 3d DCA 1990); Silva v. Stein, 527 So. 2d 943, 944 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988); Advance Chemical Company v. Harter, 478 So.2d 444, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 10,767, 10 Fla. L. Weekly 2503, Fla.App. 1 Dist., November 08, 1985; Nitram Chemicals, Inc. v. Parker, 200 So.2d 220, Fla.App. 2 Dist., June 07, 1967 - and is incorporated in Florida Standard Jury Instructions (401.12 and 402.6), applies to every type of injury, not just skull fractures.

It is also fair and just as it holds the Defendant fully accountable for his/her negligence and compensates the Plaintiff fully for his/her injuries.

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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals - the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.