People who suffer psychiatric damage after the needless death or injury of a loved one must see the event ‘in real life’ in order to pursue justice for their injuries. This law is archaic and inflexible. It was set following the Hillsborough stadium disaster, 30 years ago this coming April. Times have changed and in these days we don’t have to ‘be there’ to witness these tragic events unfolding on our phones, tablets and televisions.
Watching a devastating event happen, when it could and should have been avoided, is traumatic for the relative. Who is to say that seeing and hearing your loved one suffer on television, in images on social media or a phone call is not as traumatic as seeing it happen at the scene? In some cases it may even be worse, as you can do nothing to help a relative you see suffering on screen, you can only watch the horror unfold.
Psychiatric damage is more than feeling ‘a bit low’. It’s a serious, crippling medical condition. These so-called ‘secondary’ victims of negligence should not be subjected to unfair and unrealistic demands before they can be compensated for their injuries.
2019 must be the year the Government finally sees fit to bring the law into the 21st century. Such change is decades overdue.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)