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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Nightmares Dont Count As "psycological Harm"?

    Anyone care to comment?

    Nightmares fail to meet claims test, judge says

    Dozens could be ineligible for compensation in ferry sinking

    By Darah Hansen, Canwest News Service October 16, 2009 1:15 AM

    Recurring nightmares of drowning, moments of unexplained anxiety and a lingering fear of the dark are some of the unpleasant emotions experienced by dozens of survivors of Queen of the North, which sank off the northern tip of Vancouver Island three years ago.

    But these bad feelings don't add up to a strict legal definition of psychological harm set out by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

    The judge's decision, according to one lawyer, leaves most of an estimated 50 plaintiffs involved in a class-action suit against B.C. Ferries ineligible for financial compensation and threatens to further complicate an already difficult court case.

    "We respect the judge's decision. We respect the analysis he put into it and we respect his interpretations of authority," said James Hanson, lawyer for the plaintiffs. But, he said, "we're at a stage where we are seriously entertaining an appeal."

    B.C. Ferries has admitted it is liable for the March 2006 sinking and any proven damages resulting from it.

    It has settled most of the claims for lost luggage and other personal property when the ferry -- on its way to Port Hardy from Prince Rupert -- went down after it struck Gil Island.

    Fifty-seven passengers and 42 crew members abandoned ship before it sank. Two people -- Shirley Rosette and Gerald Foisy -- were never found and have been declared dead. Out-of-court settlements have been reached with the victims' families.

    What remains before the courts now is dozens of claims by passengers who say they continue to suffer "psychological injury" as a result of the sinking.

    Justice Brian Joyce ruled this week on a number of important legal points involved in the case after hearing testimony from six plaintiffs.

    He determined that money should be awarded only to those whose post-sinking trauma meets the standard of a "recognizable psychiatric illness."

    In assessing the six claims, the judge found four of the plaintiffs failed to meet this test, though they complained of nightmares, dry mouths, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression.

    Leslie Wilson, 67, told the court he continues to suffer disturbing flashbacks, recalling the "thunderous roar and screech" as the ferry slid into the water, followed by "the sound of windows popping, gurgling, hissing and rumbling, then eerie silence."

    Ten-year-old Joshua Snow said he was scared as he scrambled to a liferaft along with other frightened passengers. Months afterward, he suffered from recurring nightmares in which he could not get off the sinking boat and "would wake up just before he died."

    Two men were awarded compensation: $12,000 to a 66-year-old commercial fisherman found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome; and $7,500 to a 42-year-old fish farm worker whose pre-existing conditions of anxiety and depression were aggravated by the sinking.

    Lawyer Gary Wharton, representing the defendant, said it was too soon to say what impact the judgment might have on the rest of the case. "It's not a grand finale. It's just a piece in the play," he said.

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist


  2. #2
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    I guess these people better never survive a car accident, or severe fall.

    Frivolous is all I can say. Why can't people deal with the crap that happens to them in life without wanting to sue someone? You got off the boat, you were not injured, and your life was not lost. Time to put your big boy pants on and act like a freaking mature, responsible adult. Maybe a few trips to see a shrink, but geez.

    If the ship's crew had intentionally sunk the boat I can see it, but for crying out loud man.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    I'm with you on this one Sharkie. This is part of the problem in our society, people looking to make a buck off of some misfortune. Nobody promised anyone a perfect life. Heck maybe I should sue the IRS for causing me mental distress and anxiety.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Just a thought, but does this not fall into the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder category? If so, then how does it apply (or not?) to our soldiers, sailors and airmen who are currently deployed (they volunteered for military service) in overseas combat situation?

    Just a thought?

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