McLoughlin v O Brian Case Summary 1983

McLoughlin v O’Brian Case Summary 1983



The appellant and her husband, along with their children, were involved in a car accident around 4 pm with a truck driven by the first defendant and owned by the second defendant.

At around 6 pm, the appellant, who was at home at the time, was informed of the accident by a neighbor.

Upon her arrival at the hospital, she learned that her youngest daughter had been killed, and considered the nature and extent of the injuries her husband and other children suffered.

Appellant claimed that the effects of what she heard and saw caused her serious shock and mental illness, and she alleged negligence against the accused.

The court found the defendant not guilty of the appellant’s negligent nerve shock. Therefore, this complaint goes to the House of Lords.

Issue & Contention:

Defendant’s lawyer argued appellant has to show that she was close enough to the event in question to compensate for the nervous shock caused by the negligence.

According to them, they must be in the place that caused the trauma. Therefore, the House of Lords was asked to determine the nature and extent of the defendant’s obligations to the person whose conduct was psychiatric injuries, the appellant.

Ratio & Decision:

• In finding for the appellant, the House of Lords emphasized that recovery in such cases is not limited to those who attended the event or who fear that they or their close relatives will suffer any personal injury.

• With reference to Chadwick v. British Railways Board ([1967] 1 WLR 912), the defendant’s obligations apply to those who came immediately after the incident, without having to look the happening directly through their own eye.

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Om Ram

Om Ram

Om Ram is currently a 2nd-year LL.B. student at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. Previously he did Life Sciences from SVC, Delhi University. He shows his life journey by making Legal Vlogs on a YouTube channel named 'Om Ram'. He has interests in Law, Science & Film making. Some of his notable work related to photography and other interests can be seen on his Instagram. He also has a channel named 'Law Planet' where he along with his sister makes videos to make people aware of laws and their rights.
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