History of mental harm and nervous shock mount isa

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HISTORY OF MENTAL HARM AND ‘NERVOUS SHOCK’ Mount Isa Pines v Pusey: Mr Pusey heard the explosion, but neither witnessed the accident nor knew the victims. High Court held that in the context of an employer’s duty to provide a safe working environment, the P’s action of providing the assistance to his fellow workers, and the possibility of shock and some form of illness were reasonably foreseeable and not too remote.
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HC recognised that to ground liability it is sufficient that a recognised class of mental disorders, rather than a particular type of injury be foreseeable consequence of the defendants conduct (at 402) Jaensch v Coffey: (1984) Court unanimously allowed recovery for pure nervous shock to Mrs Coffey who was a thome when her husband was severely injured in a vehicle collision. Although not present at the sence she came to the hospital during the period immediate post-accident treatment of her injured husband which was defined as duty of care to persons in a close and intimate relationship (Gibbs). The test for mental harm at this stage: o 1. Causation: test of causation was specific to pure psychiatric injury. Required illness to be induced by single shock. Subjective test qualified by normal fortitude o 2. Normal fortitude: that a person of normal fortitutde would have suffered pure psychiatric injury as a result of the defendant’s negligent act or omission. (Does not apply when D had prior knowledge of P’s susceptibility. Like Statute) o 3. Remoteness of Damage: Statutory Provisions Normal fortitude requirement: in cases of pure metal harm a doc owed only if the person foresee or ought to foresee the person of normal fortitude may have suffered the illness Tame v NSW (Court abolished normal fortitude requirement; parliament reinstated it with s 72(1) Statutory provision overrides such). Reinstated out of fairness to the Defendant. ELEMENTS FOR LIBAILITY : (i) Establish normal fortitude (Which is just another word for reasonable forseeability) S 72(1): A Defendant does not owe a duty of care not to cause pure mental harm unless the Defendnat foresaw or ought to have foreseen that a person of normal fortitude might, in the circumstances of the case, suffer a recognised psychiatric illness if reasonable care were not taken.
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The Plaintiff is judged subjectively so that a person who is more susceptible to mental harm shock may only recover when the shock would be reasonably foreseeable outcome for a normal person of normal fortitude. Tame for example, was unable to recover as her harm was not a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the mistake of entering wrong blood level. It was not reasonably foreseeable that upon being informed of a clerical mistake a person of normal fortitude would have developed ‘extreme and idiosyncratic’ reactions as claimed by Mrs Tame (Gummow and Kirby at 233.
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