481 N.Y.S. 2d 545 (1984).

One-Sentence Summary: The court held that a plaintiff who suffered a psychotic breakdown following an automobile collision could recover for aggravation of a pre-existing schizophrenic illness caused by the collision.

Summary: Plaintiff, whose mother died of cancer when he was very young, had grown up to be reclusive “control freak” who was extremely concerned with his own physical fitness.  In the auto accident at issue, Plaintiff suffered minor neck and spinal injuries.  Following that accident, Plaintiff’s mental condition deteriorated into an acute psychotic breakdown from which he never recovered.

The court allowed recovery for Plaintiff’s psychiatric condition as well as his physical injuries from Defendant.  The court reasoned that this case “illustrate[d] the truth of the old axiom that a defendant must take a plaintiff as he finds him and hence may be held liable in damages for aggravation of a pre-existing illness.”

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