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CELE SQE1 模拟练习

Examination Timing: 00H01M15S

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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two hours means she was not witnessing the scence.

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Thank you for your question. It's important to focus on the legal principles established by the precedent cases and how they apply to Jessica's situation.

In McLoughlin v O'Brian [1983] 1 AC 410, the key principle established is that a person can claim for psychiatric injury if they witness the immediate aftermath of an accident involving close family members. The term "immediate aftermath" does not have an exact time limit, but it generally extends beyond witnessing the accident itself.

In Jessica's case, although she arrived at the hospital two hours after the accident, she was still within the timeframe that courts have recognized as the "immediate aftermath." This includes seeing her family members in distressing conditions and learning about the death of her child shortly after the accident occurred.

While your reasoning that "two hours means she was not witnessing the scene" is understandable, the concept of "immediate aftermath" recognized by the courts encompasses more than witnessing the accident scene itself. Jessica’s experience at the hospital, seeing the injuries and learning about the death, falls within this principle.

Therefore, despite not being at the scene of the accident, Jessica could still potentially succeed in a claim for damages for psychiatric injury by relying on the "immediate aftermath" principle established in McLoughlin v O'Brian. This is because her experience at the hospital shortly afterwards directly relates to the traumatic event involving her close family members.

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