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A car caused an accident in which one of Jessica's children was killed, and other members of her family were badly injured. She was not present at the scene and thus was in no physical danger. Two hours after the event, she was taken to the hospital where she was told about the death of one of her children and saw the injuries to her family in distressing circumstances. 

Which option best advises Jessica for a claim for damages for psychiatric injury in these circumstances?

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Jessica was close enough to the accident in both time and space, by witnessing its immediate aftermath, for her to succeed in a claim for damages for psychiatric injury. In McLoughlin v O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410, the House of Lords held that psychiatric injury was reasonably foreseeable and recoverable if the claimant witnessed the immediate aftermath of an accident involving close family members. Jessica's situation is similar, as she saw the injuries and learned of the death of her child in distressing circumstances shortly after the event. 

Key Point: The McLoughlin v O'Brian case established the "immediate aftermath" principle, allowing claimants to recover for psychiatric injuries if they witness the aftermath of an accident involving close family members. This principle extends the scope of liability beyond direct victims, recognising the severe emotional impact on close relatives who witness the consequences of traumatic events.

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