Affected students can claim for nervous shock
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