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Dooley v Cammell Laird [1971] 1 Lloyd's Rep 271

The claimant was a crane operator working for Camell Laird. He was loading material from the quay onto a ship when the rope snapped which was carrying the load. The load dropped in to the hold of the ship where the claimant knew workers were situated. The claimant could not see into the hold and where the workers were standing. In fact nobody was injured. However, the claimant suffered shock at the thought that workers could have been injured due to his actions. The shock aggravated his pre-existing neurasthenia and he was unable to return to work as a crane driver.

Held:

He was entitled to recover damages for the psychiatric injury. The defendant had provided too weak a rope for the task and the claimant’s psychiatric injury was a foreseeable consequence of their failure.

Back to lecture outline on negligently inflicted psychiatric harm in tort law