Medical Shock & Stress Related Claims

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More about stress and shockrelated illness

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The law has always distinguished 'recognised psychological illnesses' from shock, fear, anxiety or grief which are regarded as 'normal emotional consequences' and for which damages have never been awarded.

A primary victim - the person directly receiving the negligent treatment who was injured - would have little trouble making a claim provided those psychological injuries were a diagnosed and acknowledged psychiatric illness.

These shock and stress-related illnesses can have a variety of broadly similar symptoms, ranging from being lethargic or feeling irritable and isolated to physical effects such as loss of bladder or bowel control and breathing difficulties. Lives can be ruined by these debilitating illnesses and in the severest cases the victim may never fully recover.

In any stress or shock-related claim it’s necessary to show that the doctor breached their duty of care by their negligent action or inaction. Causation (proving that negligence directly caused your psychiatric illness) is more complicated than proving physical harm in these cases.

It’s easy to show that a surgeon has amputated the wrong leg for example. Although reasonable to assume that psychological harm may also be expected, its existence and direct relation to that event is harder to prove, even on the ‘balance of probabilities’. If you’re unsure whether you do have a case for making a claim, get in touch with Access Legal now to find out.

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