Special Areas of Negligence: Nervous Shock, Pure Economic Loss and Vicarious Liability

Question:

Just to confirm with you, if we want to sue someone for nervous shock, pure economic loss or vicarious liabilty, do we have to go through the 3 elements of negligence (duty of care, breach of duty, damage) ?

Answer:

For Nervous Shock, you apply the three elements (which are derived from the elements of negligence):
1. Closeness of relationship.
2. Proximity to the accident in time and space.
3. Shock must come through sight or hearing of the event or of its immediate aftermath.
 
For Pure Economic Loss it concerns the “damage” element of the three elements of negligence (duty of care, breach of duty and damage), you need to assess if the loss is a type which can be claimed.
 
For Vicarious Liability, the elements you apply are as follows:
 
1. Existence of employer-employee relationship
2. Employee was legally at fault (he would have been liable for the tort himself) – You may have to cover the elements of negligence here with respect to ascertaining whether the employee had been negligent.
3. Tort occurred “in the course of employment”.

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