The decision of the German Federal Supreme Court adds to its jurisprudence on the circumstances in which a tortfeasor can be made liable for psychological damage to the injured party (compare on this point also the case notes published in this journal on the leading decision of the Supreme Court (BGHZ 132, 341 = JZ 1996, 1080 (note Schlosser), ERPL 1998, 249 ff.). For the facts of the case, reference is made to the first paragraph of the attached case comment, which examines the problem from the point of view of English law. In its reasoning, the Supreme Court deals, inter alia, with liability in relation to a nervous condition and with the issues identified in the statements of principle:
Statements of principle:
a) The answer to the question whether a harmful event can be so minor that under the principles of the Supreme Court decision BGHZ| 132, 341 ff. liability for psychological harm can be excluded depends on the primary injury suffered by the injured party.
b) If the unfitness for work asserted by the injured party arises from a psychological inability to deal with the harmful event, the tortfeasor may be obliged to compensate for the length and amount of any loss of income that may come into consideration, if the prognosis is that serious risks to the development of the injured party's future career because of the aforementioned psychological difficulties exist with a sufficient probability to statisfy §287 of the German Code of Civil Procedure.European Review of Private Law