The thin-skulled doctrine is a significant part of the everyday work of medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers, says Toronto litigator Richard Shekter.
Shekter, a partner with Shekter Dychtenberg LLP, says the tort law concept comes into play because of the varying ways identical incidents can impact different individuals.
“It’s a daily issue for someone working in this area,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com, explaining that the principle dates back to ancient English common law and gets its name from a common example used to demonstrate it.
“If I negligently drop two plates out of a window and they hit two different people on the head in the same spots, one might have a headache for a few days, while another with a thin skull could suffer significant brain injury,” Shekter says.
“The damages will be much greater for the thin-skulled victim, but when there is negligence, it’s the wrongdoer who bears the risk of loss, because you take your victims as you find them.
“It's common in personal injury litigation that individuals respond differently to the same traumatic event, whether physically or psychologically,” he adds.
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