nervous shock

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Related to nervous: nervous breakdown, nervous system

nervous shock

a phrase used to describe a certain class of claim, usually in negligence, where the plaintiff is not injured in the sense of a physical injury. It is not strictly speaking a medical term but now marks out a certain set of perplexing legal cases where a plaintiff has not suffered direct physical injury, for example, being run down. Instead, the plaintiff claims to have been so affected by the incident in question that he suffers from a recognized medical condition as a result. The ‘floodgates’ fear that there would be an army of lying plaintiffs and crooked lawyers and dubious psychiatrists resulted in a strict approach to recovery, demanding that the plaintiff had to be at or about the scene of the incident that caused the shock. The position has now been reached where nervous shock, mental illness or post-traumatic stress disorder may found a claim if the claimant is a primary victim or alternatively is a secondary victim and can pass the control tests developed in the cases. An example of a primary victim is a person whose ME flared up after being in a minor collision in which he was not physically injured. Secondary cases are where the claimant sees another being injured and the controls operate around three categories which are under review by the Law Commissions:
  1. (1) the relationship of the parties;
  2. (2) the means of perception should be unaided senses; things seen on television are unlikely to trigger recovery, still less a written report;
  3. (3) plaintiffs to be successful should be at or near the scene or at least its aftermath.
References in classic literature ?
"I'm not one single bit nervous," said Felicity complacently.
NERVOUS PIANIST: "I'm afraid there's a mistake somewhere.
He made a long pause, plainly overcome by the thought that was in him, and nervous how best to express it.
But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing.
Every muscle of his thin face was now quivering with nervous excitement; his eyes, in which the fire of life had seemed extinguished, now flashed with brilliant light.
Davis was quite benignant in the afternoon, also unusually nervous. Just before school closed, Jo appeared, wearing a grim expression as she stalked up to the desk, and delivered a letter from her mother, then collected Amy's property, and departed, carefully scraping the mud from her boots on the door mat, as if she shook that dust of the place off her feet.
"I confess, he makes me nervous around the children," she said.
"She had been nervous and irritable all the morning; and we took her out into the garden to breathe the fresh air.
"Are you not the author of a monograph upon obscure nervous lesions?" I asked.
These results have all been produced by deprivation of sleep, which is in its turn the nervous consequence of a sudden cessation in the habit of smoking, after that habit has been carried to an extreme.
Hygeia herself would have fallen sick under such a regimen; and how much more this poor old nervous victim?
Of course there may be some nervous horses who have been hurt or frightened when they were young, who may be the better for them; but as I never was nervous, I can't judge."