Psychiatric Injury Law Commission Report

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This Law Commission report aims to address the issues of the law regarding negligently inflicted psychiatric injury. The complications arise when it comes to the recovery of compensation for the psychiatric injury suffered by the claimant. It has become increasingly difficult to resolve claims for recovery as the cases have become more complex. This report will evaluate the current law as to whether it is adequate following the various cases decided. Subsequently, proposals will be made on reforming the law to ensure that people who have suffered negligently inflicted psychiatric injury are able to recover compensation if their claims are warranted. The evaluation and recommendations will focus on certain areas of the law which is the shock requirement and recovery for the secondary victim rather than the entire legislation on liability for psychiatric illness. Under the present law, the…show more content…
Both post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are psychiatric illnesses but decisions have been made where the claimant who suffers from depression has been unable to recover damages. This is despite the defendant’s negligence causing the depression and the suffering that the claimant experiences being no different from shock-induced illnesses. The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Mental Health Law Group has stated that the shock test is trivial from a medical perspective as psychiatric evidence will prove the link between the event and the injury suffered. In cases such as Hatton v Sutherland and Barber v Somerset County Council, employers were held liable for the psychiatric injuries sustained at work and these injuries were not caused by any shocking event. This shows that the once rigid shock requirement is no longer followed strictly as medical evidence proves that a person can suffer from a psychiatric illness even if the event was not
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