Witnesses to an accident may have a potential claim for what is called nervous shock.
This arises in respect of a third-party claim, where a Plaintiff witnesses the injury/fatal injury/ the aftermath of an injury and as a result develops a reactive psychiatric illness.
The Supreme Court in their judgement in Kelly -v- Hennessey, laid down a number of factors the court considers when deciding on cases of nervous shock. They are the following:
- Has he or she has suffered a recognisable psychiatric illness?
- Has the illness been shocked induced?
- Has nervous shock been caused by the Defendant’s act or omissions?
The plaintiff must also prove the following:
- The nervous shock must be by reason of actual or apprehended physically injury to the Plaintiff or a person other than the Plaintiff.
- The Plaintiff must show the Defendant owed him or her a duty of care not to cause him or her unreasonable foreseeable injury in the form of nervous shock
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