Many people are not aware that you don’t need to sustain a physical injury to sue for negligence in California. The legal cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) allows victims with purely psychological injuries to successfully collect compensation for the responsible parties. These are difficult and complicated cases, so it’s important to hire a California negligent infliction of emotional distress attorney with extensive experience with this type of case.
The Bystander Theory of NEID
This is the most common type of successful NEID claim. It typically involves a close relative that was not directly involved with an accident, but witnessed harm to their loved one. For example, a parent that witnesses their child being run over by a car or a husband that sees his wife hit on the head by a chunk of metal that falls from a construction site. These are the elements that must be proven for a bystander theory of NEID claim:
Negligence by the defendant caused death or serious injury to a person or persons;
The plaintiff was present and witnessed the harm taking place;
The plaintiff has a close relationship to the victim;
The plaintiff can prove they suffered emotional distress.
It’s important to note that these claims are only successful where the injury to the victim is severe enough to cause emotional distress and that the emotional distress must be proven with medical evidence from a treating health care professional.
Direct Victim Theory of NEID
It’s sometimes possible to prove that a negligent act caused emotional harm to a relative, even if that person didn’t directly witness the harm being done. These are the elements that must be proven:
The defendant’s actions were negligent:
The negligent actions of the defendant were the cause of plaintiff’s emotional distress;
The plaintiff can prove they suffered from emotional distress.
These claims are unlikely to be successful unless the negligent actions cause great enough harm to justify the emotional distress. For example, it wouldn’t fly to sue the diner for serving you a hamburger instead of a veggie burger because youâ€™re a vegetarian. It’s also unlikely that such an incident would require treatment by a psychologist. An example of a case that could be successful would be an action against a drunk driver that caused your child to be paralyzed or killed. In such a case, the defendant’s action caused you tremendous emotional distress even though you were not the present at the scene.
California Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Attorney
If you’ve suffered emotional distress due to negligence that harmed a close relative, it’s important to speak to a California negligent infliction of emotional distress as soon as possible after the accident. Call today for a free consultation.