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TORT - Term Paper Example

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Law on Tort Q1 In White & ORS v Chief of Constable of South Yorkshire & ORS,1 the Court was faced with the issue of members of the police force, acting as rescuers, claiming damages from their employer on the ground of psychiatric injuries. This case was an offshoot of the Hillsborough incident where a number of people died whilst scores of others were injured because of the failure of the police to keep the spectators from overcrowding certain portions of the football field…
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Download file to see previous pages The Page case established foreseeability of personal injury, whether physical or injury, as a pivotal element in tort claims. It is a legal dictum applicable only to primary or direct victims. The Alcock case, on the other hand, dealt with secondary victims or claimants suffering from psychiatric injury by reason of their exposure to the injury or death of a loved one. It established three control mechanisms: establishment of close ties of love and affection between claimant and victim, albeit this is presumed in certain cases; establishment of presence at the accident site or immediately after, and; establishment of psychiatric injury as a result of directly witnessing the accident or its immediate aftermath. In the present case, however, the police officers/rescuers were not claiming as secondary victims, accidentally witnessing their loved ones dying or being injured, but as primary victims suffering psychiatric injuries as a result of being in the rescue operation. ...
The House of Lords was faced with the dilemma of granting claims to policemen/rescuers for psychiatric illness when it had earlier, in Alcock, refused similar claims by close relatives of the victims. Moreover, the prospect of expanding claims on the ground of psychiatric illness posed four issues: the complication of drawing the line between serious grief and psychiatric illness; the effect on claimants suffering from psychiatric illnesses in the event of an expansion; the floodgate doctrine – where more classes of persons will be suing on the ground of psychiatric illness, and; a lopsided liability burden on defendants vis-a-vis tortious conduct. 4 On the basis of the above, the HL was persuaded to dismiss the claims of the police officers/rescuers, observing that where the law on psychiatric injury is concerned, the Court should stop provisionally at the boundaries established by the cases of Alcock and Page until and unless Parliament itself conducts a revamp by enacting laws that would finally settle all pertinent issues. This, the Court observed, was the prudent thing to do. Q2 Victor should institute an action for tort against William, for his broken legs and ribs, and against the hospital for mistakenly amputating his arm. William is liable for the broken legs and ribs of poor Victor notwithstanding that the slow-speed collision was supposed to have only caused bruising. Under the eggshell skull rule, a “defendant is liable in tort for the aggravation of a plaintiff’s existing injury or condition, regardless of whether the magnitude of the injury was foreseeable.” 5 Thus, in Smith v Leech Brain & Co,6 the Court granted the claim of the widow of a worker who died of cancer three years after a molten metal accidentally ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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