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Primary and secondary victim - who is primary victim and who is secondary and why ?...

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blueking | Student | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM via web

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Primary and secondary victim - who is primary victim and who is secondary and why ? Below is a case which is confusing me on the understanding of who is a primary and who is a secondary victim. 

Case summary:

Dan, a Reds player, caused a scrum to  collapse once again. Patrick(captain of the Blues)  fell and his neck was injured. Dan was also badly injured in the collapsed scrum, breaking his shin bone in the fall, a part of Dan’s bone pierced his skin as he fell. Neil, another of the players, was very distressed at the sight of the injury and is now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:14 PM (Answer #1)

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Looking only at the facts given in this question, we can say that Patrick would be a primary victim.  Neil has a claim to being a secondary victim, but it is not completely sure that he will be able to prevail in this claim.  Although the facts as given here are not clear, it seems that Dan is probably not a victim of anyone else’s negligence.

Dan is not a victim of any sort because the scenario implies that he is at fault.  It implies that it was his improper action that caused the scrum to collapse repeatedly.  Patrick is clearly a primary victim, assuming that his neck injury is serious.  He fell as a result of Dan’s actions.  (We should note that Dan’s actions would have to be far outside of the laws of the sport.  It is generally not possible to sue over injuries that occur because of actions that are normal for the sport.)  Primary victims are those who are directly involved in the incident in question.

Secondary victims are not actually involved in the incident.  Instead, they are bystanders who are subjected to emotional trauma because of the events that occurred.  That would mean that Neil could claim to be a secondary victim.  However, it is not clear that he will prevail in this claim.  Typically, the person claiming the status of a secondary victim would have to have ties of love or deep affection to the person harmed.  It is not even clear if Neil is on the same team as Dan, let alone that they are close friends. 

Thus, Patrick is a primary victim, Neil is a potential secondary victim, and Dan is not a victim. 


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