Psychiatric harm is often regarded as an injury caused by the impact on the mind of external events. Because better knowledge of brain and mind was not possible in the past as it is nowadays, until recently, the tort of negligence regarding this type of injury was very uncertain. Recently, due to big improvements in science, the study of human brain is taken to a whole new level. This leads to a new perspective of the area of law called psychiatric injury, allowing it to become more certain along with the laying down of several guidelines and criteria about whether or not can an individual recover damages after witnessing an event that lead to any form of psychiatric injury.
In other terms, the recent improvements have made it possible for people to claim damages for psychiatric injury. The claimants for this type of injury can be primary victims (claimants who suffer from psychiatric injury after have suffered physical injury) or secondary victims (claimants who have witnessed the physical harm of a person with whom they have a strong bond). The last kind of victims are able to sue in court under certain terms: it should be a recognised psychiatric illness, as a result of shock, by a person of reasonable fortitude who is in a relation of love and affection with the victim, and there should exist a geographical proximity between the person and the victim.
To exemplify, two important cases have been referred to: White v CC of S. Yorkshire Police and Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire. Both cases are about the disaster occurred at the Hillsborough Stadium, and also, in both of the cases, the defendant is the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police. What makes also a resemblance between the two cases is that, in the both of them, the claimant does not win the case. Further reasons for this, as well as for what makes these two cases curious, are stated in the next lines.
In White v CC of S. Yorkshire Police, the claimants...
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