What is mental injury? (Mental anguish)

  • Mental injury includes fright, feelings of distress, anxiety, depression, grief, psychosomatic physical symptoms and embarrassment. Although different to physical pain it is nonetheless legal grounds for awarding damages.
  • Examples:
    • Witnessing the death of a loved one (Road Accident Fund v Sauls)
    • A hospital negligently mixing up two babies shortly after birth (Clinton-Parker v Administrator Transvaal)
  • In order to legally succeed in a mental injury claim the plaintiff must show that they have suffered a detectable psychiatric injury. Mere grief would not be adequate.
  • Mental injury does not include a breach of contract e.g. A shop failing to deliver the wedding dress in time.
General Liability