In any vehicle accident case, the facts of the case will be unique in various ways. If you, as a plaintiff, have medical conditions that make you uniquely susceptible to injury, and you suffered greater injuries due to your condition, the law says that you should not be penalized for your condition. The case of a woman injured in a Northern California car crash highlighted this “eggshell plaintiff” rule, with a jury awarding her almost $3 million in damages due to the knee, back, and mental injuries she suffered.
The accident in this case was one not unlike accidents that many of us have seen or maybe been involved in. One woman’s Subaru wagon collided with another woman’s Jeep, creating a “moderate impact.” The impact was sufficient to cause the Jeep’s airbag to deploy.
Although the Jeep driver was wearing her seatbelt and had the benefit of an airbag, her knees struck the inside of the vehicle compartment. Although she initially sought treatment related to her knee and ankle injuries, the Jeep driver also argued in her lawsuit that she developed lower back issues and neck problems as a result of the accident. On top of that, the accident also allegedly left her with other physical and psychological problems, including an onset of cognitive impairments and an extreme fear of driving, or even just riding in a vehicle.
Eventually, doctors discovered a severely herniated disc in the woman’s back, which required emergency surgery to address.
At trial, the plaintiff’s evidence included testimony that she’d need a lifetime of care, including injections, a home health aide, and a service animal. The plaintiff’s neuropsychologist testified that the crash had caused the woman to lose 24 IQ points to her auditory working memory. The plaintiff, he testified, had suffered a “severe emotional disturbance” to what was an “eggshell” or unusually susceptible abnormal brain.
The Sacramento County jury ultimately returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff $2.88 million. This amount included more than $2.3 million in future economic and non-economic damages.
In injury law, courts have been clear for decades that a defendant must “take the victim as he finds him.” In other words, a person who is civilly liable for some wrong is liable for all of the damages that his error or omission proximately caused. If, by chance, the victim of his negligence was a person who was unusually susceptible to extensive harm, that victim’s unique vulnerability does not mean that the victim is somehow barred from recovering 100% of the damage caused by the defendant.
In this case, the plaintiff was a woman whose medical makeup was such that she was unusually susceptible to harm. At her trial, the plaintiff had ample evidence of the damages she’d suffered and would incur in the future. Based upon this proof, she was able to obtain this successful result.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, skilled counsel can help you with getting back on your feet and obtaining the damages recovery you deserve. The experienced Oakland injury team at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch has been helping the injured pursue their rights for many years. For more information regarding how this office can help you, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-2575 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
California Appeals Court Revives Injured Driver’s Case Against Tow Truck Company, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Feb. 15, 2017
California Driver Forced to Pay Accident Victim’s Fees, Costs for Unreasonable Refusal to Admit Liability, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Aug. 31, 2017