INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

Infliction of Emotional Distress

Although not as common of a claim, but far too prevalent of a harm done in the world we live in, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress involves some kind of conduct that is so harmful it causes severe trauma and distress in the victim. If this has happened, a victim may be able to recover damages from the individual causing this emotional trauma.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress happens everyday and not all conduct will result in a claim and compensation. Everyday people deal with certain rudeness and offensive conduct and will not have claim in most cases. However, when the conduct rises to an extreme and is reprehensible, it is possible that recovery may be available.

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF AN EMOTIONAL DISTRESS CLAIM?

Generally speaking, the conduct must be extreme and outrageous, intentional or reckless, and cause severe emotional distress. Often times emotional distress can cause corresponding psychological issues such as anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If the set of circumstances satisfies all of the elements, there may be a claim for emotional distress.

The conduct must be extreme and outrageous in most instances, and normal insults and rudeness generally will not classify as a compensable claim. People are expected to have a certain level of thick skin and the ability to handle typical insults and bad behavior.

The individual inflicting the distress must also intend to cause such severe emotional distress, know that the emotional distress is likely to occur, or act with reckless disregard.

WHAT IS SEVERE EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

Emotional distress can come in various forms such as distress, embarrassment, fright and grief. Also relevant is the intensity of the emotional distress and the graveness of the inflicted conduct. A plaintiff must use evidence to demonstrate that there has been egregious behavior and that there has been emotional distress sustained. Certain conduct will have more impact on a jury and therefore be more understandable that a plaintiff has suffered whereas other harm may be more specific to the victim. Bodily harm is often a symptom of emotional distress such as headaches and ulcers and can also be a good indicator of the emotional distress.

If you’re not sure if you have an emotional distress claim, contact our office for a free no-obligation consultation.

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