Personal Injury in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • McLoughlin v O'Brian
    • House of Lords
    • 06 May 1982

    The common law gives no damages for the emotional distress which any normal person experiences when someone he loves is killed or injured. Yet an anxiety neurosis or a reactive depression may be recognisable psychiatric illnesses, with or without psychosomatic symptoms. So, the first hurdle which a plaintiff claiming damages of the kind in question must surmount is to establish that he is suffering, not merely grief, distress or any other normal emotion, but a positive psychiatric illness.

  • Page v Smith
    • House of Lords
    • 11 May 1995

    In the case of a primary victim the question will almost always turn on whether the foreseeable injury is physical. There is no justification for regarding physical and psychiatric injury as different "kinds" of injury. Once it is established that the defendant is under a duty of care to avoid causing personal injury to the plaintiff, it matters not whether the injury in fact sustained is physical, psychiatric or both.

  • M'Alister or Donoghue (Pauper) v Stevenson
    • House of Lords
    • 26 May 1932

    You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. The answer seems to be persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.

  • Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Apr 1997

    If the occupier of land suffers personal injury as a result of inhaling the smoke, he may have a cause of action in negligence. But he does not have a cause of action in nuisance for his personal injury, nor for interference with his personal enjoyment. It follows that the quantum of damages in private nuisance does not depend on the number of those enjoying the land in question.

  • Cookson v Knowles
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 25 May 1977

    The Courts invariably assess the lump sum on the "scale" for figures current at the date of the trial - which is much higher than the figure current at the date of the injury or, at the date of the writ. The plaintiff thus stands to gain by the delay in bringing the case to trial. He ought not to gain still more by having interest from the date of service of the writ.

  • Dutton v Bognor Regis Urban District Council
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 17 Dec 1971

    It is pointed out that in the past a distinction has been drawn between constructing a dangerous article and constructing one which is defective or of inferior quality.

  • Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No.2)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 Dec 2002

    Employment Tribunals and those who practise in them might find it helpful if this Court were to identify three broad bands of compensation for injury to feelings, as distinct from compensation for psychiatric or similar personal injury.

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