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Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Not Exactly Humpty Dumpty, But the Eggshell Plaintiff

Not Exactly Humpty Dumpty, But the Eggshell Plaintiff


Imagine there are two people, and they are in the exact same kind of accident, and suffer the exact same kind of injury.

One goes through recovery, maybe misses a few weeks of work, and is back to work like new. The other seemingly never fully recovers; he is constantly in need of therapy, in constant pain, and misses extended time at work.

Should that second person be “punished’ because he is more delicate, or less able to handle pain, or because his body is less able to heal? Should the Defendant be punished, despite the fact that other people, with the exact same injury, did not suffer to the extent that this accident victim did?

Welcome to the Eggshell Plaintiff

The answer lies in what is known as the eggshell plaintiff theory.

Like the eggshell that was Humpty-Dumpty, the theory says that some people are simply more delicate, more prone to “break,” and less able to heal than others may be, but that doesn’t matter—the victim should not be punished for this, nor should a defendant be able to escape liability for it.

The eggshell theory or doctrine says that a Defendant finds a victim as the victim is, even if that victim is more fragile than others may be. A victim cannot be punished, through reduction of a damage award, just because he or she is less able to recover from an injury after an accident, or because his injuries are more severe or long-lasting than they would be with or on other people.

Examples of the Eggshell Plaintiff

There are a lot of examples of the eggshell plaintiff theory.

One person may, after an accident, suffer a neck strain or sprain. He may have pain, do therapy, and although he may never fully heal to his pre-injury self, he may be back to life activities like normal in 6-7 months.

But a second person may have the same accident, and be in serious pain; so much so that he may need pain medicine or nerve blockers or devices to ease the pain. The lack of sleep from the pain will affect his work. As sleep deprivation becomes an issue, and he becomes less mobile, he may develop other health problems.

No Reduction in Damages

Both of these hypothetical scenarios came from the same injury and the same accident- but there are very different outcomes with both.

A Defendant can argue someone is not injured, or not as injured as he or she says—but a Defendant cannot argue that someone is more injured than he or she should be, given the nature of the accident and given how other, similar people may respond to a similar type accident. Someone can’t blame a victim for being “too delicate,” or fragile, and use that as a defense in a lawsuit.

No matter how injured you were in your accident, we can help. Call us for help today and for a free consultation. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Cameron Law today at 702-745-4545.


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