Infliction Of Emotional Distress
Laws regarding the intentional infliction of emotional distress are for situations where a certain party intentionally engages in actions meant to cause severe mental anguish in another person. These laws are only applicable if those intentional actions actually cause mental anguish in that other person. In other words, the plaintiff has to prove the following about a defendant:
- That the defendant acted recklessly without caring that the actions may inflict emotional distress
- The defendant acted intentionally to produce emotional distress in the plaintiff
But for the plaintiff to have a case, the act the defendant engaged in must be extreme and outrageous. The emotional distress produced in the plaintiff must also be severe to an extent that no reasonable person can be expected to endure it.
What Is Extreme And Outrageous Behavior?
Extreme and outrageous behavior is behavior that any reasonable member of the community would view as atrocious. It is a kind of behavior that goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in any community that is considered civilized. This behavior must have the ability to cause a person of average temperament to experience emotional distress. Remember that there are people that are more sensitive or high-strung compared to the average person. When such high strung people sue for emotional distress, the standards for outrageous behavior may be lowered.
Intentional Or Reckless Behavior
A person is reckless when that person acts in a certain way knowing that those actions are highly likely to cause emotional distress in another person. A behavior can be described as intentional when the person engaging in the behavior intends to cause emotional distress in another person through that behavior. The plaintiff has to prove that the behavior was reckless and intentional for the defendant to be held liable.
Emotional Distress Damages
The factors that a court considers when determining emotional distress damages include:
- How much the life of the plaintiff is altered by the injury the plaintiff received
- The extent of the anguish itself
Emotional distress can alter your daily life by causing you to experience paralyzing fear, anxiety, humiliation, sleep loss and in other ways. The manifestations of emotional distress are varied and are determined partly on their impact on your daily life. The definition of emotional distress is not set in stone because the term is actually subjective. So the strength of your claim depends mostly on the evidence of your emotional distress that you can assemble.
When To Sue For Emotional Distress
You may sue for emotional distress in the following situations:
- You witness a death of a family member or witness the horrific accident the family member is involved in
- The body of a deceased family member is mishandled
- You witness a horrific event as a bystander that causes fear of death or injury while standing in the very close to the incident
Since you have to prove an injury that is not visible to the naked eye, your emotional distress case can be difficult. You are more likely to win such a case if you are a pregnant woman, an elderly individual or a child.