Af­fected stu­dents can claim for ner­vous shock

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

THE “snake pit” in­ci­dent in­volv­ing 45 stu­dents at a mo­ti­va­tional camp in Kuala Kangsar last Satur­day refers.

There is a case for “as­sault” – de­fined as “an in­ten­tional act by some­one who cre­ates an ap­pre­hen­sion in an­other of an im­mi­nent harm­ful or of­fen­sive con­tact”.

An as­sault is es­tab­lished by a threat of bod­ily harm cou­pled with an ap­par­ent, present abil­ity to cause the harm.

The par­ents of the stu­dents can file for dam­ages un­der “ner­vous shock”.

For such a claim to suc­ceed, four in­gre­di­ents must be sat­is­fied. They are:

The ex­is­tence of a duty of care ie the duty on the part of the de­fen­dant not to in­flict ner­vous shock upon the claimant;

A breach of the duty ie the de­fen­dant’s ac­tions or omis­sions in the cir­cum­stances fell be­low what would be ex­pected from a rea­son­able per­son in the cir­cum­stances.

A causal link be­tween the breach and the psy­chi­atric ill­ness, ie the ner­vous shock was the di­rect con­se­quence of the de­fen­dant’s breach of duty.

The ner­vous shock was rea­son­ably fore­see­able as a con­se­quence of the breach. Here the el­e­ments ap­pear to be am­ply met. A mere warn­ing to the or­gan­is­ers not to re­peat the episode would be grossly in­suf­fi­cient given the grave cir­cum­stances of the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent where the stu­dents suf­fered trauma.

Dr A. Soo­rian Seremban

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