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Infliction of Emotional Distress

Infliction of emotional distress may be either intentional or negligent. Intentional infliction of emotional distress is caused by the willfulness or malice from one individual (or company) towards another individual.

 

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Negligent infliction of emotional distress is when an individual fails to use reasonable care to avoid causing an emotional injury to another person.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Intentional infliction of emotional distress involves outrageous and extreme conduct that goes beyond the bounds of common human decency and causes emotional harm to another. In order for an act or acts to rise to the level of "emotional distress" they must far surpass mere insults, annoyances, indignities and other trivialities.

The conduct must be regarded as atrocious and beyond the bounds tolerated by a civilize society. The act must be so egregious that a reasonable and prudent human being would be unable to tolerate such conduct. An example of such a case would be for someone to falsely inform a parent that their child had just been raped and killed.

The relationship of the parties and the susceptibility of the plaintiff are two other factors that are considered in cases of intentional infliction of emotional distress. If the defendant has been in a position of authority over the plaintiff, then the claim is given more weight. In addition, if the plaintiff had a certain peculiarity or susceptibility that the defendant knew about and took advantage of in an egregious manner, then this is also given more weight in the claim.

In order for a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress to go forward, the following must be proven:

1. The conduct by the defendant was outrageous or extreme
2. The defendant, by intention or reckless disregard, caused the emotional distress
3. The plaintiff did, indeed suffer emotional distress
4. The proximate cause of the emotional distress was by the defendant's actions


Bystanders may also make claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress especially if they were in the "zone of danger" for the offense. Some jurisdictions require that the bystander be physically injured or impacted in order to make this claim, while others do not. For instance, some courts hold that the proximity to danger and the fear for one's own life is enough to cause emotional distress.

Intentional infliction of emotion distress claims may also be a part of slander, libel and defamation of character cases.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Negligent infliction of emotional distress is a claim that is not widely accepted by many states and jurisdictions. The legal concept is that Person A owes a duty of care to Person B to take reasonable care to avoid causing emotional distress or injury. Many states have shunned the theory of negligent infliction of emotional distress since it is difficult to define and quantify.

Either intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress claims usually arise out of serious or catastrophic personal injury cases. If you believe that you've suffered from an infliction of emotional distress caused by another, then contact a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate the merits of your case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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