What Is The "Thin Skull Principle" Of Causation?

Motor Vehicle Accidents - Question 14
The "thin skull principle" of causation, which has developed in our law, makes the "at fault" driver liable for your injuries even if the injuries are unexpectedly severe owing to a pre-existing condition. Where the negligent conduct of an "at fault" driver "materially contributes" to the occurrence of the post accident problems, the "at fault" driver may be found liable for all of the injuries sustained as a result of the motor vehicle accident. Essentially, a "thin skull plaintiff" is someone who has a latent, pre-existing condition or vulnerability to injury which is brought to the fore by the motor vehicle accident and which would not have presented itself had the accident not occurred. So for example, someone who suffered abuse as a child may be more fragile psychologically and more vulnerable if they suffer an adverse life event. Accordingly, such a person might be more likely to suffer more severe depression as a result of a motor vehicle accident that appears to have been minor. Had the accident not occurred, this person may never have experienced severe depression.

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