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Negligence Psychiatric Injuries Notes

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A more recent version of these Negligence Psychiatric Injuries notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.

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A. Psychiatric Injuries
McBride & B (4th), pp. 140-162
- A injures B physically, as a result, B also suffers psychiatric injury. A is liable to B for psychiatric injury, no matter how unforeseeable, as long as physical injury is foreseeable (Simmons v British Steel)
- A almost injures B physically ? B suffers psychiatric injury. A liable to B
for psychiatric injury; no need to show it was foreseeable (Page v Smith)
o If B gets psychiatric injury not resulting from the risk of physical injury, then not so clear that there would be a claim
- Third party suffering psychiatric injury. More troublesome because difficult to establish reasonable foreseeability that third party would suffer some kind of physical injury.
o Requirements:
-Reasonably foreseeable that A's action would result in third party developing psychiatric disorder
-"close and loving relationship" or

+ witness accident/immediate aftermath

Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire
-Helping to assist injured party in the aftermath and this experience made it reasonably foreseeable or

+ thought was in danger
-Felt wrongly but reasonably responsible for what happened to injured party making it reasonably foreseeable or

+ present at scene of accident
-Saw what happened to injured party making it reasonably foreseeable

+ a bystander would reasonably develop psychiatric injuries
- Rescue

Frost v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire - no duty of care unless rescuers risked physical injury (subsequent to Chadwick)
o Chadwick v British Transport Commission - a duty of care may exist
- Bystanders

McLoughlin v O'Brian - denies liability in all cases

Alcock - recognizes in the right type of case there may be liability
-But this was read wrong in McFarlane and Frost,
interpreted to mean that such a case would never give rise to a duty
- Self-harm

Greatorex v Greatorex - Father sues son for crashing his own car and injuring himself, causing the father to suffer psychiatric injuries. Ruled that there was no duty of care because 1) it would limit his "right of self-determination" (author disagrees with this -

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