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When Can You Sue for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Posted on in Personal Injury

California injury attorney, California accident lawyerIt is important to remember that you do not have to needlessly suffer if you have experienced emotional distress because of another’s actions. There are two types of claims that seek to redress victims of emotional distress where you have not experienced any physical injury. The first type is if the emotional distress was intentionally inflicted. In our last post, we discussed what elements are needed in order to prove the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The second type is if the emotional distress was inflicted due to someone else’s negligence. Negligent infliction of emotional distress means that the tortfeasor (or person harming you) does not have to intend to hurt you. Rather, negligent infliction of emotional distress occurs when someone’s unreasonable acts caused you emotional distress.

Two Types of Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

California law recognizes negligent infliction of emotional distress actions in two circumstances:

  1. Direct victims of bodily harm cases: This is a limited type of emotional distress claim that is only available in the following situations: medical diagnostic negligence, corpse mishandling and the breach of a preexisting relationship duty.
  2. Bystander cases: This is a type of case where the person seeking damages for emotional distress was a witness to an accident.

Elements of a Bystander Claim

  • The defendant negligently injured or killed another;
  • You were present at the scene of the accident;
  • You were aware that the accident caused the injury or death of another;
  • You suffered serious emotional distress; and
  • The defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in cause the emotional distress.

In addition, courts typically require that a bystander must be closely related to the accident victim. One court has said that bystanders must reside in the same household or be parents, siblings, children, or grandparents of the victim.

Emotional distress is defined as shock, suffering, horror, anguish, shame, fright, grief, humiliation, anxiety, worry, or nervousness. Serious emotional distress is that which a reasonable, ordinary person cannot handle.

Types of Bystander Claims

One of the most common bystander claims is when a car accident kills or injures a family member and another family member is in the car but is not injured. Another example of a bystander claim would be if a family member witnesses a serious falling accident.

Contact a San Jose, CA Personal Injury Attorney

In the situations described above, it may be possible to recover for your emotional distress injuries even if you have not been physically injured. Emotional distress is traumatizing and can greatly impact your quality of life.

The skilled San Jose personal injury lawyers at Jachimowicz Law Group have represented many people injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. Call our firm at 408-246-5500 today to set up an initial consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/CACI_2017_Edition.pdf

 

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