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Nervous Shock - Essay Example

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When it comes to the mental shock case, there has been a number of concerns about the elements involved which are considered as being of great subtlety as compared to the case of other physical injuries that occur ordinarily. …
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Nervous Shock
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Download file to see previous pages There are these elements in the mental shock case that have given rise to many debates and concerns on the specific scope of its legal liability. Physical illness has had many liabilities in history characterized by suspicion, fear and ignorance. Past cases have ignored the causes of psychiatric illness. The cases have also witnessed medical discipline judicial suspicion devoted to psychiatric illness treatment as well as the fears associated with opening liability that may lead to a number of claims. The liability of this law is considered to transform into the simplistic notion that if an event is not seen then there is no way it can be proved to have resulted to any harm. This has led some courts to consider psychiatric damage as being less important and not worth any compensation unless the damage is associated with physical injuries that can be measured and seen objectively1. Courts have in the recent past refused to consider psychiatric damage on equal basis as other physical damages. The House of Lords came to the agreement that in case of any physical injury affecting a plaintiff in circumstances that are foreseeable, no matter how trivial they may be, but end up not taking place, then the plaintiff is viewed to be in a position to recuperate from psychiatric illness even without concerns on whether the condition was foreseeable. Any foreseeable or case of physical injury to some extend legitimate the plaintiff claims of psychiatric illness. The physical injury primacy in the dominion of compensation has proved to be apparent even in situations where the courts are taking part in allowing psychiatric illness recovery. The “greater subtlety elements” of Lord Macmillan are applicable in cases of psychiatric illness that are not offered by physical injury means to the affected plaintiff2. The Current Law The present law on psychiatric illness liability which does not result from the plaintiff’s physical injury is summarized in two House of Lords decisions; Alcock v Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police (1992) 1 AC 310 and McLoughlin v O’Brian. In the McLoughlin case, the husband to the plaintiff as well as her children were victims of a road accident that had resulted out of the defendant’s negligence. The plaintiff received news about the accident two hours later and moved to the hospital where she learned of the death of one child and witnessed the injuries of the rest of her family members in circumstances that were so distressing. The House of Lords agreed unanimously to hold the claim of the plaintiff for psychiatric illness as to sail through. However, the house disagreed on the appropriate approach of testing liability. Lords Edmund and Wilberforce argued that the psychiatric injury foreseeability was not necessarily the main requirement. Lords Scarman and Bridge opted for a test that was solely based on foreseebility. This was untrammeled by temporal, physical and spatial limits that were proved to be largely subjective in how they were applied. These factors included in the aftermath test by Lord Wilberforce that led to a direction towards the extent of foreseeability of psychiatric illness. The main issue in the Alcock case was the decision status ruled in McLoughlin v O’Brian case. Its concern was whether the case came up with a liability test that was based solely on psychiatric illness foreseeability or were there other policy factors taken into consideration in determining the liability’s ambit? The case was concern about the actions taken against the police after the disaster that occurred in the Hillsborough stadium in 1989. In the disaster, 95 people lost their lives and more than 400 were injured. The disaster came about after too many fans were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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