Pace v. Ohio DOT

594 N.E.2d 187



A negligent actor must bear the risk that his liability will be increased by reason of the actual physical condition of the other toward whom his act is negligent.


Plaintiff injured party filed a negligence action against defendant Department of Transportation which sought loss of wages, future economic value, and pain and suffering. The injured party was a passenger in a vehicle that collided with the Department's snowplow, causing him to strike his little finger on the dashboard and receive treatment for other injuries. The injured party's finger became infected and the tissue ultimately died, requiring amputation. The injured party filed a negligence action against the Department alleging that they were responsible for the loss of his finger.


Did the defendant's negligence proximately cause the amputation of diabetic plaintiff's finger?




The court entered a judgment in favor of the injured party. The evidence presented indicated that the injured party had a diabetic condition which could easily have created complications for what was a seemingly routine injury caused by simple impact. Thus, under the eggshell skull doctrine, the Department must accept that the injured party's particular injury may have been aggravated by his unique physical condition. The court also ruled that the evidence that the injured party had ended his drug addiction well before the accident, combined with the physician's lack of certainty that the injured party had injected himself around the injured area defeated the Department's theory that the degeneration of the injured party's tissues was caused by the addiction.

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