- Mrs Coffey’s husband was seriously injured by the negligent driving of Jaensch.
- After seeing her husband in hospital and being told he probably would not make it, Mrs Coffey suffered a nervous shock, particularly after seeing Mr Coffey with “all these tubes coming out of him.”
- Mr Coffey survived, but the damage was done.
- Mrs Coffey commenced proceedings against Mr Jaensch in the Supreme Court of South Australia, seeking compensation for the nervous shock and loss of consortium she suffered.
- She was successful at trial and in the subsequent appeal by Mr Jaensch. Mr Jaensch appealed to the High Court.
- Could Mrs Coffey recover for nervous shock and damages for loss of consortium and interest?
- It was more than reasonable foreseeability, proximity was also relevant. Mrs Coffey satisfied this test.
- The doctrine was extended beyond those who actually see the event, to those who perceive its direct aftermath.
- It is necessary to actually perceive the aftermath, not just learn about it (to avoid a ‘shoot the messenger’ scenario).
The full text is available here: https://jade.io/summary/mnc/1984/HCA/52
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