Pregnant Woman Involved in Car Accident
The accident happened on Tuesday evening, June 1, 2021, at the intersection of Seneca Street and South 28th Street. According to the initial reports, a pregnant woman was driving on South 28th Street. Another driver was on Seneca Street and blew through the stop sign.
The impact occurred right on the pregnant woman’s door. She was unable to climb over her car’s center console to exit out the passenger side, so her driver’s side door was cut off to extricate her from the wreck.
She does not appear to have been hurt, and was only taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The Eggshell Skull Rule: “Take the Victim as You Find Her”
The accident could have been disastrous. In fact, it is still too early to tell if it was – the impact of the collision could have caused birth injuries that have not been discovered, yet.
This raises a key question: If this concern does manifest and the baby is born with injuries that came from the car accident, could the negligent driver who caused the crash be liable for them?
In Missouri, and in most other states, the answer is yes.
This is the eggshell skull rule, or the eggshell plaintiff rule, which states that the negligent person who causes an accident does not get to choose their victim. Instead, you have to “take the victim as you find him or her.” This includes with all of the victim’s eccentricities, weaknesses, medical conditions, and prior injuries, even when they are unknown to the person causing the accident.
In essence, if the victim has a skull that is as thin as an eggshell, and it breaks when someone accidentally taps on it, the victim still deserves compensation and the negligent party still has to pay it.
Foreseeability and Fairness
The eggshell skull rule is tricky because it weighs two competing interests in an attempt to be fair.
The first is the victim’s interest in recovering compensation for losses that they did not cause. The second is the interest in only holding the negligent person liable for losses that they could have avoided.
Between the two, though, Missouri personal injury law favors the victim. This can mean that defendants get “unlucky” by hurting someone who would not normally get hurt from what the defendant did. However, the law would rather have this be the case than for a victim to be denied compensation for their losses.
The rule also plays with personal injury law’s intent to hold defendants liable for the foreseeable results of their poor conduct. Many defendants claim that it was impossible for them to foresee that their victim would have been hurt so severely. But everyone knows that other people could have prior injuries or medical conditions that make them more likely to get hurt, or more likely to suffer more severe injuries.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office serve victims in St. Joseph, Kansas City, Springfield, and the rest of western Missouri. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373.