In California, you have the legal right to recover compensatory damages for what is known as negligent infliction of emotional distress, or NIED. However, NIED is not an independent cause of action – it is just the basis for damages in a claim involving negligence. What does this mean and how could it affect your personal injury case? Keep reading to get the facts and then reach out to The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker for a free legal consultation by calling 800-333-0000.
Only Certain People Can Sue for NIED
Just seeing an accident is not enough to sue for NIED. Instead, these emotional stress damages can only be claimed by someone who was the direct victim of a person or they were a bystander and witnesses the injury of a close relative.
Recoverable Damages in an NIED Case
There are a number of damages that may be recoverable in these cases. They include medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you required psychological counseling then that would likely be covered. In short, the damages that you can recover depend on the specific ways in which the accident affected you and what costs you acquired handling the accident.
Understanding the Legal Definition of “Emotional Distress”
It is important to understand what the law means when they refer to “emotional distress.” Examples include nervousness, anxiety, suffering, anguish, fright, horror, grief, shame, humiliation, shock, and worry, amongst other feelings. Serious emotional distress is considered a situation in which a reasonable person would not be able to deal with the mental stress around the situation.
Direct Victims Do Not Have to Have Suffered Physical Injuries
One important aspect of this type of personal injury case is that the person suing does not have to have suffered a direct injury. They are considered a direct victim if the defendant was negligent and as a result of their negligence the plaintiff suffered emotional distress. It is up to the jury to determine if that is the case.
How to Prove NIED Cases
It can be a challenge to prove these cases. With cases involving serious physical injuries, there are medical records, tests, x-rays, and other physical evidence of an injury. With emotional distress, much of the proof will come down to whether or not a judge and/or jury believes the victim. We do recommend that you visit a mental health professional who can set up a history of the emotional distress you are going through.
Second, we recommend that you work with a personal injury attorney who knows how to build these cases. You have found just such a person in The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker. You can call our offices at 800-333-0000 if you are in need of a free legal consultation.