Psychiatric Harm in Negligence

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  • Created by: Calgary
  • Created on: 10-05-12 22:04

Psychiatric Harm in Negligence

Liability for consequential loss:

  • In Donoghue v Stevenson, a claim was successful for physical harm with 'consequential' psychiatric injury. Where liability for physical injury established, there can be a claim for foreseeable psychiatric injury as long as it flows 'directly and immediately' from physical injury.
  • We are now concerned with another aspect of cases, where all injury (including any physical aspect) stems from the mind - the initial injury being a psychiatric one.

Psychiatric Illness:

  • No duty with respect to temporary emotional stress (grief, anxiety, fear) see Page v Smith.
  • Diagnosis must usually be in line with DSMV IV - a diagnosable mental injury.
  • Psychiatric Illness can include: Hysteria, Neurosis, Depression and Psychomatic (physical) effects of such illnesses.

Primary Victims:

  • Negligent infliction of psychiatric illness cases divided into: 1) Primary victims and 2) Secondary victims.
  • Primary victims involve only C and D. For example, D creates risk of physical injury, resulting in C's reasonable belief of the danger. No physical injury ensues, but C claims for psychiatric illness. This kind of reasonable fear for safety has been confirmed in McFarlane v EE Caledonia.
  • Foreseeability of any form of injury - physical or psychiatric - is sufficient ground for duty.
  • 'There is


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