What is Emotional Distress?

There are two types of emotional distress – negligent infliction and intentional infliction – they both include the following:
emotional distress

  • Suffering
  • Anguish
  • Anxiety
  • Fright
  • Grief
  • Shame
  • Horror
  • Nervousness
  • Shock
  • Worry
  • Humiliation

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Negligent infliction isn’t an independent cause of action but is a basis for damages in a claim under California’s negligence law. Someone is a direct victim of this if:

  • The person who inflicted emotional distress was negligent, and
  • As a result of this person’s negligence, the plaintiff suffered serious emotional distress.

Damages for emotional distress can be claimed if someone was a direct victim of another’s wrongful act or they were a bystander who witnessed an injury of a close relative. Damages can include:

  • Medical bills
  • Phychological counseling bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

A bystander can make a claim if:

  • They were closely related to the victim.
  • The victim was negligently injured or killed.
  • They were present at the scene of the injury when it occurred and they were aware that the victim was being injured.
  • Because of the injury, they reasonably suffered emotional distress beyond that is anticipated in a disinterested witness.

A close relative under California law is a spouse, registered domestic partner or a relative who lives with the victim or a victim’s parents, siblings, children or grandchildren.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

It must be proven that the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and done either intentionally or with a reckless disregard of the probability you would suffer severe emotional distress. In order for someone to be guilty of intentional infliction, all of the following must be proven.

  • The defendant’s conduct was outrageous.
  • The conduct was either reckless or intended to cause emotional distress.
  • Because of the defendant’s actions the plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress.

Conduct is considered outrageous when it is beyond the bounds of decency according to a reasonable person.
Reckless disregard is when the defendant knows that his or her conduct will probably result in emotional distress or the defendant gives little or no thought to the probable effects of his or her conduct.

Fresno Emotional Distress Lawyer

If you have someone who is making a claim against you for emotional distress or you are a victim, Charles Magill can help.

Any questions? Contact us.

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