NERVOUS SHOCK

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DEFINITION OF NERVOUS SHOCK

The claim must involve an actual recognised psychiatric condition capable of resulting from the shock of the incident and recognised as having long term effects

VERNON V BOSLEY

FACTS

Father witnessed his children drowning in a CRA that was negligently drove by their nanny.

OUTCOME

Recovered damages for nervous shock that was to be partly the result of pathological grief and bereavement, but partly also for witnessing the trauma

AO2 people could make up a condition they have which may lead to floodgates, it has to be recognised odd of professionals to diagnose illness. There are constantly advances in medical conditions due to development of technology.

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PRIMARY VICTIMS

People who are at the scene of the incident and fear for their own safety (at risk of being injured). Justification for claims is that it would be foreseeable to the d that if you almost physically injure someone you could cause them nervous shock

DULIEU V WHITE

FACTS

Horse and cart crashed through a window where woman was washing glasses

OUTCOME

Allowed to claim as she had been put in fear of her own safety

Category of c's at first was limited and usual rules of negligence apply to the primary victims making it easier to claim

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THIN SKULL RULE

PAGE V SMITH

FACTS

C in a car accident caused by D negligence, no physical injury but suffered a recurrence of chronic fatigue syndrome which he had suffered some years before

OUTCOME

D was liable for the psychological injury caused to C

SIMMONDS V BRITISH STEEL

FACTS

C was injured through employers negligence when he suffered a worsening of his stress related skin diseaese which led to a personality change. This resulted from his anger of his employers lack of support and apology

OUTCOME

Courts still imposed liability as he was a primary victim

AO2 favours the C , unfair on D as they may be unaware of the C condition

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RESCUERS

CHADWICK V BRITISH RAILWAYS BOARD

FACTS

Tw trains crashed in a tunnel a man who lived nearby was asked to go into the wreckage and give injections to trapped passengers because he was small

OUTCOME

Successfully claimed for the anxiety neurosis he suffered, he was a primary victim as he was at risk himself

HALE V LONDON UNDERGROUND

FACTS

A fireman successfully claimed for PTSD following kings cross fire

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SECONDARY VICTIMS

Law was later extended to include a claim for nervous shock as a result of witnessing traumatic events involving close family. People who bare at the scene but fear for a loved one.

HAMBROOK V STOKES

FACTS

Woman suffered nervous shock when she saw a runaway lorry going downhill to where she had dropped her three children off and heard the lorry had injured a child

OUTCOME

Court disapproved Kennedy test and said it would be unfair not to compensate a mother who had feared for safety of her children, court felt it would be foreseeable for a mother to suffer nervous shock

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DOOLEY V CAMMELL

FACTS

A crane driver successfully claimed when he saw load fall and thought his work mates (close but not related) were under it and be injured

AO2 This was a very wide point in the law and is unlikely to be followed in subsequent decisions

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OUTSIDE AREA OF SHOCK

BOURHILL V YOUNG

FACTS

A pregnant fishwife claimed to have suffered nervous shock after getting of a tram and hearing a motorcycle accident, later seeing blood on the floor after which she gave birth to a still born child

OUTCOME

Becuase she didn't know the man it was outside the foreseeable area of shock and the claim was rejected as it would make the law too wide

AO2 after this case courts decided that the thin skull rule did not apply to secondary victims, instead they would be compared to people of reasonable phlegm and fortitude. The decision realting to people you dont know may have also seemed unfair as they may have suffered nervous shock.

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IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH

MCLOGHLIN V O'BRIAN

FACTS

A woman was summoned to hospital an hour after her children and husband were involved in a car crash. One child was dead and two were badly injured, all we're in shock and had not yet been cleaned up.

OUTCOME

Since the relationship was close and the woman was present at the immediate aftermath she could claim

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DAMAGE TO PROPERTY

ATTIA V BRITISH GAS

FACTS

Woman witnessed her huse burning down due to the contractors who negligently installed her central heating

OUTCOME

Successful claim for nervous shocks claim was within reasonable foresight

AO2 very wide point in the law again, decided on policy (who can stand the loss)

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ALCOCK CRITERIA

The law on nervous shock was reviewed in the case Alcock v Cheif Constable of South Yorkshire and it was decided all criteria must be met before a claim can be successful.

  • Proximity in time and space (experienced directly, event or immediate aftermath)
  • Proximity of the relationship (close tie of love and affection), or presence as a rescuer
  • Cause of the nervous shock (witnessing or hearing event or immediate aftermath)

ALCOCK FACTS

Start of a football match police allowed a large number of supporters into a caged pen, 95 crushed and some died. Many claims but HOL refuesed them all

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RESCUERS WHEN SECONDARY VICTIM

GREATOREX V GREATOREX

A fire officer attended the scene of an accident caused by negligence of his son. He was required to attend to his sons injuries and claimed nervous shock

OUTCOME

Court did not accept his claim Becuase his son caused the fire

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Comments

Warren

Thanks  for this, really detailed summary :) 

Smith E

A helpful resource, simply presented, that lists both facts and outcomes for the key cases. 

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