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Corr v IBC Vehicles Ltd, High Court, 28 April 2005

20 May 2005
The issues

Psychiatric Injury – Whether Employer Liable For Suicide Of Employee During Depressive Episode

The facts

The Claimant was the widow of a former employee of the Defendant. He suffered an accident at work for which the Defendant admitted liability. 6 years later whilst depressed he committed suicide. It was alleged that the depression was consequent upon his accident and the litigation that followed from it.

There was no issue as to recovery of the damages immediately attributable to the accident but the Defendant denied liability for the subsequent suicide.

The decision

The Claimant relied on the “but for” and material contributions tests. That was unhelpful. They were only the first part of a two part exercise. It still had to be shown that the loss was of a type that was reasonably foreseeable.

Although there was no question that the Defendant had breached its duty of care towards the Defendant the duty did not extend to a duty to take care to prevent the employee’s suicide. That had not been reasonably foreseeable.

Claim dismissed.

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