Steven B. Levine, MD, Otolaryngology and Allergy & Immunology Expert
The “eggshell theory” is a legal principle which states that a defendant must take their victim as they find them, even if the victim’s physical condition makes them more vulnerable to injury or harm. In other words, if a defendant causes harm to a victim, they are responsible for all of the consequences of that harm, even if the victim’s physical condition made them more susceptible to injury.
The eggshell theory can apply to a variety of legal contexts, such as personal injury cases that involve a physically impaired or fragile victim. For example, if a defendant were to physically assault an elderly person or someone with a pre-existing medical condition, and the assault resulted in serious injury or death, the defendant would be held responsible for the full extent of the harm caused, regardless of the victim’s physical condition.
The eggshell theory is based on the principle of causation in tort law, which holds that a defendant’s actions must be the direct cause of the harm suffered by the victim. It is a recognition that individuals have different physical vulnerabilities, and that a defendant should not be able to escape liability simply because the victim was more susceptible to injury or harm due to their physical condition.
Overall, the eggshell theory highlights the importance of treating all victims with care and respect, regardless of their physical condition. This also helps to ensure that the legal system is able to hold defendants accountable for the harm they cause, regardless of their victim’s vulnerability.