In the context of ICBC injury claims, the Court will sometimes need to determine whether or not the “thin skull” or “crumbling skull” doctrines apply, as this will have an effect on the amounts of damages awarded for pain and suffering.
“Thin skull” situations arise where the victim is already in a fragile or susceptible state, or has a latent or inherent weakness or condition, and where the tortious conduct of the Defendant causes injuries that a person of normal health would not have suffered. The tortfeasor “takes his victim as he finds him”, and cannot avoid liability for serious injuries that an otherwise normal and healthy person would not have suffered.
“Crumbling skull” situations can arise where the victim has a condition which is accelerated by the tortfeasor’s actions. If there is a measurable risk that the victim would have eventually suffered from the condition in question anyways, then there can be a reduction in the amount awarded to account for this.
Perhaps the best way to make the distinction is that in a thin skull situation, the “skull” is in a stable condition, and would have remained so, without the accident. In a crumbling skull situation, the “skull” was not in a stable condition, but rather was in a state of continuing deterioration, which the accident merely accelerated.
In Schnurr v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the Plaintiff was injured in three motor vehicle accidents, and advanced ICBC claims for all of them, which were all eventually consolidated into one action for trial. The Plaintiff alleged that she suffered from chronic pain, depression, cognitive issues, and headaches. The Court found that the three motor vehicles in question to a varying degree exacerbated all these conditions, and would eventually award the Plaintiff $70,000.00 for non-pecuniary damages in what the Court called a “classic case of a crumbling skull Plaintiff”. The Court also found that the Plaintiff’s injuries were indivisible in nature, and that the Defendants were jointly liable.
 In summary, I find that Ms. Schnurr’s chronic pain condition, depression and cognitive issues, and headaches were exacerbated by the subject accidents and these accidents are therefore a cause of her present condition. Given the interrelated nature of Ms. Schnurr’s complaints and the nature of the injuries suffered in the subject accidents, I find that her complaints should be characterized as indivisible injuries for which the defendants are jointly liable.
 I have summarized my findings concerning Ms. Schnurr’s condition at paras. 175 – 184. As indicated there, Ms. Schnurr suffered from a number of pre-existing conditions which were exacerbated by the current accidents, specifically a chronic pain condition, depression and headaches. While the evidence established that she would likely have continued to experience all of these issues even without the accidents, the effects of the accidents were not inconsequential.
 Ms. Schnurr’s various problems have undoubtedly had a negative impact on her enjoyment of life. That was true before November 10, 2007, and it has been true since that time. The challenge is quantifying Ms. Schnurr’s damages resulting from the subject accidents, given my finding that her injuries from these accidents are divisible from the injuries sustained in the previous accidents.
 Ms. Schnurr is a classic case of a crumbling skull plaintiff.