Possible to sue for personal injury under Rylands v. Fletcher.?

by admin on July 18, 2010

I was wondering whether, even tenuously, it is possible to sue for personal injury under the rule in Rylands v. fletcher. This is because in the fictional case i am arguing under, the Claimant suffered a seizure after drinking water contaminated by chemicals leaked from Chemco Ltd (who i am acting for).

Also his friend suffered psychiatric injury after witnessing his friend (they live together) suffer a seizure like that.

Are the possible claims? I think not based on some cases like read v. lyon. Any ideas?

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{ 1 comment }

emanwelgwent July 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Well… it’s worth a try. Unfortunately since Transco, Rylands is treated as being an adjunct to the tort of nuisance – so probably you’ll have to accept that the conventional nuisance rules about personal injury recovery apply.

Sadly Rylands v Fletcher has been cut down and cut down since the original case. I can’t see very much advantage to using Rylands over using ordinary negligence, since under Cambridge Water you’ll have to establish foreseeability anyway, my feeling is that if you can establish the facts necessary for Rylands, then the facts are probably there for negligence.

You could try to rely on Lyon in that it seems to be assumed in Lyon that you can recover for PI under Rylands. The claim in Lyon failed because there was no escape. However, Lyon still isn’t much help as it says nothing positively on the personal injury point.

Suspect the key point for your psychiatric injury point is going to be whether there’s a sufficiently close tie of love and affection.

Good luck with it. I’ll regret not having done more mooting while I was at uni…

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