1 AC 310. 1992;

7 Med LR 167. 1996;

PIQR Q87. 1993;

AC 92.

1 All ER 997. 1984;

2 QB 40. 1970;

UKSC 26. 2023;

EWCA Civ 1792. 2002;

AC 155 (HL). 1996;

UKSC 1. 2024;

Times Law Report May 2nd. 1989;

6 Med LR 246. 1995;

5 Med LR 178. 1994;

1 All ER 1. 1999;

No duty to shield relatives from the shocking aftermath of treatment or death

08 February 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 3

The law of negligence has long recognised that individuals who breach their duty of care by carelessly harming another must pay compensation for the harm caused (McCulloch v Forth Valley Health Board [2023]).

In cases where the claimant is seeking compensation for psychiatric injury or nervous shock further restrictions on when liability arises apply. These restrictions reflect the concerns by the courts of opening the floodgates to increased claims in cases where a general duty of care to prevent psychiatric injury can be applied. Fear of opening the floodgates to such claims is grounded in a concern that psychiatric injury might occur not only to the victim of negligence but also to onlookers, that is, family members who are told of the incident, and even rescuers and members of the health and emergency services (Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire [1992]).

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