California Intentional & Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Some events in our lives can be so traumatic that we suffer severe emotional distress. Emotional distress can be just as debilitating and harmful as any physical injury. When you struggle emotionally, you may be unable to function or work. It can tough to enjoy your life the way you did before.
You may have the right to file a lawsuit if someone else intentionally or negligently caused your emotional distress. Money won’t let you turn back time to erase the traumatic event, but it can be very helpful on your road to recovery. Punitive damages may even be available to punish the person responsible for your suffering.
Contact the Law Offices of John Rapillo to learn about your legal options. You have the right to demand compensation, and our Orange County personal injury lawyers can help you maximize your financial award. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
- 1 What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
- 2 What is Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
- 3 What is the Statute of Limitations for Emotional Distress Claims?
- 4 How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
- 5 Need Help?
What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
Are you struggling with debilitating emotional distress because of another person’s willful and intentional actions? You may have a legitimate claim based on intentional infliction of emotional distress.
When you file a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress you will have to prove that the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and was a substantial factor in causing your severe emotional distress. You must also prove that the defendant knew you were present and:
- Intended to cause emotional harm, OR
- Acted with reckless disregard of the probability that you would suffer emotional distress.
When is Behavior Outrageous?
Your intentional infliction of emotional distress case can only succeed if the defendant’s conduct can be defined as “outrageous.” Conduct will be considered outrageous if it “is so extreme as to exceed all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized community.”
It’s not enough for behavior to annoy or irritate others. The conduct must be so unreasonable that a reasonable person would likely be harmed or offended.
Intentional Acts vs. Reckless Disregard
A defendant must have caused your emotional distress intentionally or by recklessly disregarding the likelihood that you’d be harmed.
Intentional acts are done willingly and on purpose.
Reckless disregard means that a person does either:
- Knows that their actions would probably cause emotional distress, OR
- Fails to consider the likely consequences of their behavior.
Either way, the defendant must know that you were present when they engaged in the outrageous conduct.
Severe Emotional Harm
The defendant’s conduct must be a substantial factor in causing severe emotional distress. Severe emotional distress is defined as “distress of such substantial quantity or enduring quality that no reasonable man in a civilized society should be expected to endure it.”
In other words, severe emotional distress permeates your life and causes unreasonable disruptions. It goes far beyond immediate anger, fear, sadness, or other emotions that may develop immediately after an incident. Severe emotional distress is often deep and difficult to shake.
Whether or not your emotional distress is severe is a question of fact for a judge or jury. They’ll consider your case as a whole and determine the extent of any emotional harm you’ve suffered.
When Can I File a Claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
No one has the right to intentionally cause you to suffer severe emotional trauma. If they do, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover comepnsation. You may have an intentional infliction of emotional distress case if:
- You are the victim of assault, battery, or sexual abuse
- You were injured because of a product with known dangers or defects
- You were injured because of another person’s reckless or dangerous behavior, or
- You were injured because of a drunk driver.
An experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer can tell you if you have a legitimate case. Contact the Law Offices of John Rapillo to schedule a free case assessment with our skilled legal team.
What is Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
Witnessing or being in an accident can cause devastating emotional harm. Another person’s negligence is no excuse for your emotional suffering. You may have the right to file a legal claim to recover compensation for your emotional injuries.
When you file a claim based on negligent infliction of emotional distress, you will have to prove:
- The defendant was negligent
- You have experienced serious emotional trauma, and
- The negligence was a substantial factor in causing your distress.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is a leading cause of many Orange County accidents. Personal injury cases involving car accidents, medical malpractice, swimming pool accidents, and slips and falls typically focus on the issue of negligence.
Negligence occurs when:
- The defendant owes the victim a duty of care
- The defendant breaches this duty in some way, and
- The breach causes the victim to suffer an injury.
There are many ways that a person can be negligent. Common examples include ignoring or disobeying the law, failing to use proper caution, and performing tasks while distracted.
Serious Emotional Distress
You must be able to prove that you have suffered serious emotional distress because of another person’s negligent behavior. Emotional distress can be classified as “serious” when it is so pervasive and constant that no reasonable person would be expected to or able to cope with it.
Examples of emotional distress can include:
- Humiliation, and
Who Can File a Claim for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
There are two groups of people who may have the right to file a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Damages can be awarded to:
- Accident victims, or
- Bystanders who witness an injury or death.
Accident Victims: Victims don’t have to suffer physical injuries to file a lawsuit after an accident. A claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress can succeed on its own, even absent any physical symptoms. If you do suffer a physical injury, you can request damages for emotional distress caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct.
Bystanders: California law also allows bystanders to file claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress. As you bystander, you must be able to prove:
- The defendant’s negligence caused an injury or death
- You were at the scene when the injury or death occurred
- You knew that the traumatic incident was causing the injury or death, and
- Witnessing the incident caused you to suffer serious emotional distress.
Do you believe that another person’s negligence is responsible for your serious emotional distress? Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free case assessment today. We can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Emotional Distress Claims?
California limits the amount of time you have to file a claim for negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. In most cases, you will have two years from the date of your traumatic event. If you don’t file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you won’t be able to get the money you may deserve.
You can preserve your legal rights by contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately after you experience a traumatic event. Call our Orange County law firm today to get started on your legal case today.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Many people underestimate the impact of an emotional injury. Emotional distress can affect every aspect of your life. It can change your relationships, prevent you from doing the things you once loved, and keep you from going to work. It’s not uncommon for victims of emotional distress to develop physical symptoms and complications. You shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of your emotional injury on your own. Someone else is to blame, and you can hold them financially responsible.
You can pursue compensation on your own. However, you’re much more likely to file a successful case and get the money you deserve when you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
- Laws and procedures relevant to your emotional distress case are complicated
- You may not know what your personal injury case is worth
- You may not know who you can blame for your emotional distress
- Insurance companies will try to manipulate you and limit your payout, and
- Others will try to blame you for your own emotional injuries.
Our personal injury lawyers will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. We’ll find out what caused your emotional distress and identify who is to blame. We will also work with some of the best mental health, vocational, and medical experts in Orange County to make sure that your case is valued properly. As your attorneys, it’s our goal to make sure that you are fully compensated for any harm you’ve suffered. Call today to learn more.
Emotional distress can affect every aspect of your life. You may even begin to manifest physical injuries, illnesses, and symptoms. If someone else intentionally, reckless, or negligently caused your distress, you have the right to demand comepnsation. Our attorneys can help you maximize your financial award.
Contact the Law Offices of John Rapillo for immediate assistance with your personal injury case. Our goal is to make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call today to learn more.