Sydney Lawyers

ON 20 AUGUST 1984, the High Court of Australia delivered Jaensch v Coffey [1984] HCA 52; (1984) 155 CLR 549 (20 August 1984).

A plaintiff suffered nervous shock when immediately after an accident she saw her injured husband in hospital and was told of the seriousness of his injuries.

The High Court extended the class of persons to whom a duty of care is owed to those who, although not present at the scene of an accident, are at risk of suffering psychiatric injury by personally perceiving the direct and immediate aftermath of the accident in which a person with whom they are in a “close or intimate relationship” with is negligently injured or killed.

The duty of care was characterised as arising from the injury being reasonably foreseeable and sufficient proximity between the plaintiff and the defendant.


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