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Medical negligence can cause emotional or psychiatric damage to those directly affected or to close relatives who witness the negligent act or its immediate aftermath and have to deal with it. A husband or partner present when poor care by midwives means something goes wrong during the delivery of a baby may be just as psychologically damaged as the woman giving birth.
While it is still feasible for close relations who witness a traumatic event to make a shock-related claim in personal injury cases, a re-interpretation of the law has made it much harder, and in many cases impossible, for relatives to make a claim for psychological injury in a medical negligence case.
You’ll find more information in our guide to who can claim for psychological injury, but generally anyone who directly experiences mental or emotional damage as a consequence of clinical negligence will have a good case for making a claim.
In order to make a successful claim, Shoosmiths would have to establish that those psychiatric injuries were caused by the negligent act and obtain medical evidence to confirm that the illness was a recognisable psychiatric condition rather than just ‘normal’ shock or grief.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is probably the best known of the reactive psychiatric illnesses, but several other diagnosed depressive disorders, adjustment disorders or anxiety disorders would also qualify as ‘recognisable illnesses’ for which it would be possible to make a claim.
Man awarded compensation after witnessing the aftermath of his partner setting herself alight while an in-patient at hospital
William’s partner, Jane, who suffered with epilepsy, was admitted to Northampton General Hospital after having a seizure. Despite Jane suffering from irrational and strange behaviour, the hospital did nothing.
Jane was allowed to have her curtains closed and consequently set fire to herself, the impact was devastating.Read how Shoosmiths ensured Jane and William received substantial compensation for clinical negligence here.
'Shoosmiths got me the rehab I needed and really helped with my family. They were fantastic throughout.'
We choose this work because we care about helping genuine claimants in these cases. You'll find our experienced solicitors to be approachable and supportive as well as professional and effective.Why Shoosmiths