Clinical Negligence is often only associated with the direct victim who suffered the negligence first hand, however, it is important that due consideration be granted to secondary victims. A secondary victim is someone caught up in the scene of an accident, who then went on to suffer recognised psychiatric illnesses as a result of the shock of witnessing an avoidable accident. This is most commonly linked with situations where close relatives have been injured or killed.
For secondary victims it is far more difficult to build a case to claim as there are many hurdles for them to overcome which over the past few years we’ve seen raised even higher for many relatives. To be considered as a secondary victim you must meet certain criteria which has been set out including:
- The claimant must perceive a ‘shocking event’ with their own unaided senses – being a first-hand eye witness to an avoidable accident.
- The shock must be a sudden and not a gradual build up on the claimant – cases such as depression would not qualify for this claim.
- If the claimant has witnessed the death or injury of another person they must show a close relationship and tie of love and affection to that person.
- It must be seen that any person in the claimant’s position could suffer from psychiatric damage.
The difficulty when it comes to claiming as a secondary victim is that you are a lot less likely to have witnessed the clinical negligence first hand and more likely to have suffered from the result of this negligence such as a loved one dying or becoming extremely ill. In these cases where you have not first-hand witnessed negligence it is a lot less certain whether you will have success from pursuing the claim – but is worth gaining legal guidance on whether to continue this pursuit.
Clinical Negligence is a very complex subject, so to ensure you have the best guidance and representation when it comes to building a claim whether you are the primary or secondary victim it is important to instruct a professional specialist from the very beginning. At WBW we offer a FREE consultation to assess your claim, advise you of your options and then we work with you to achieve your aim. We offer FREE drop in clinics daily from 10am – 4pm at our Newton Abbot, Exeter and Torquay offices, with no appointment needed.
We believe that any victim of Clinical Negligence should be heard so if you’d like to talk please get in touch.