Nervous shock in negligence

Nervous shock in negligence

psychiatric damage, rather than just emotional upset, caused by the sudden sight or sound of a horrifying event (Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire (1991)). The right to claim depends on whether the victim was actively exposed to the risk of being injured or not.

Primary victim
Actively at risk

Claim can be made if:

• the claimant was exposed to physical danger or reasonably believed himself to be exposed to physical danger; and
• it could be reasonably foreseen that someone in his position would suffer physical harm; and
• he suffered nervous shock .

Secondary victim
Observer or involved with helping victims

Claim can be made if:

• the claimant saw a close relative injured with whom he has a relationship of ‘love and affection’; and
• he was physically close to the scene of the accident or event; and
• he saw the accident happen or the results shortly afterwards; and
• he suffered nervous shock as a result .

Rescuers can only claim damages for nervous shock if they are exposed to reasonably foreseeable danger (White v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire (1999))

02/12/2020

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