Uniquely Vulnerable Plaintiffs Entitled to Full Damages

August 30, 2019

In Pennsylvania (and throughout the country), injured plaintiffs often worry about whether they are entitled to the compensation they seek.  This is particularly applicable to plaintiffs who have sustained “excessive” losses due to their unique vulnerabilities and fragilities.

For example, suppose that you have a condition that makes your spinal column somewhat less rigid, exposing you to a greater risk of paralysis in the event that a significant impact force collides with the spinal column.  You are subsequently paralyzed in a low-speed rear-end car accident that causes your weak spinal column to collapse and your spine to be severed.

Now, the defendant might feel that it is unfair to impose such significant damages (long-term medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, etc.) on them when the accident was only minor.

Fortunately for you (and perhaps unfortunately for the defendant), the law entitles plaintiffs to be compensated for their losses in full, even if they are suffering from a unique vulnerability that enhances their losses.

How does this work?  Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Loss and Recovery in the Context of Personal Injury

In personal injury law, the defendant may be held liable for the losses suffered for the plaintiff no matter the unique vulnerabilities of that plaintiff — this concept is known as the eggshell skull rule (referencing Humpty Dumpty, naturally!).  Simply put, it is the defendant’s responsibility to shoulder the cost burden of encountering a uniquely vulnerable plaintiff.

If this seems unfair, consider the opposite possibility — one in which the plaintiff’s recovery was somehow capped at an objective maximum despite their losses being higher than the typical plaintiff.  Returning to the spinal column example, it’s not your fault that you are suffering from the condition, and it’s not as though you attracted the defendant’s negligent actions.  Further, if the defendant’s liability were somehow capped, then you would be saddled with the extra losses — is it fair to be left financially destitute simply because of your bad luck in encountering the defendant?  It is the defendant who engaged in the wrongful conduct at issue.

Contact a Bethlehem Accident Attorney for Legal Assistance

If you’ve been harmed in an accident due to the fault of another, then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action for damages.  Many prospective plaintiffs become concerned about how their damages will be perceived by the court, however, as they might be uniquely fragile and therefore have sustained losses that are significantly greater than what others might consider being “standard.”

It’s important to understand that injured plaintiffs have a right to be fully compensated for their injuries, even if the losses are extensive and seemingly disproportionate given the nature of the accident.  With enough supportive evidence, you should have sufficient information to justify the damages claim.

Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our team has decades of experience working with injured plaintiffs in a variety of disputes, from car accidents to product defect scenarios.  We are thorough and client-oriented advocates, committed to investing the time and resources necessary to understanding our client’s needs and effectuating a winning strategy through litigation.

Ready to speak to a skilled Bethlehem accident attorney at our firm?  Call us at 888-777-7098 or complete an online intake form through our website to connect today.  Consultation is free and confidential.