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Psychiatric Harm/Nervous Shock


Psychiatric harm, also known as nervous shock, applies to situations where the claimant has witnessed a
horrific accident, is physically unharmed but suffers a psychiatric illness. This must be a recognised medical
condition which have been held to include-

Depression: Chadwick v British Transport (1976)
In this…

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The claimant must be in a close and loving relationship with the accident victim (rescuers are
an exception to this rule)
Proximity in terms of time and space
The claimant must be at the scene of the accident, in the vicinity of the
accident or have come across the immediate…

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In the case of Hunter (1998) the court identified the following categories:

Primary Victims- those who are in fear of injury to self; rescuers; and those who believe they are
responsible for injury to another.

Secondary Victims- those in fear of injury to other at the accident; those who witness…

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into wreckage to give injections. He suffered by the claimant after
was able to successfully claim for the witnessing a horrific accident.
depression he suffered; this was
because he was a primary victim.
McLoughlin v O'Brian (1983) A woman was called to a hospital Personality Change ­ an example of…

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catastrophic gas explosions which distance away), the court found
killed 164 men, and injured many against them.
others. The claimant helped prepare
his ship to receive the injured, for
instance by bringing blankets, but his
claim for psychiatric damage caused
as a result of what he saw and
experienced failed:…

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