Torts I, Pages 317–319

Bartolone v. Jeckovich

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, 1984


Plaintiff negligently caused a car accident that gave defendant minor injuries. These minor injuries greatly aggravated a pre-existing schizophrenic condition, which then permanently disabled him.

Procedural History:

Jury awarded $500,000 to plaintiff, which judge set aside.


Can one be liable for aggravating pre-existing conditions?

Defendant's Argument:

Condition was not aggravated; defendant is faking a mental breakdown. Even if was real, it would have happened anyway.


Bell: Defendant is liable for all physical injuries even if another plaintiff wouldn't have suffered those injuries.


There are many cases of similar mental disorders being caused by traffic accidents. They held that the defendant should be liable. Defendant was living a normal life before the accident, so there is not reason to think it would have occurred then without it.


One can be held liable for aggravating pre-existing conditions.


Reversed; jury's verdict reinstated.