California Intentional & Negligent Infliction Of Emotional Distress FAQ

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 did one of the following:

  • Intended to cause emotional harm
  • 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 one of the following:

  • Knows that their actions would probably cause emotional distress
  • 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 compensation. 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.
  • You were injured because of a drunk driver.

An experienced 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.

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.

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.
  • The negligence was a substantial factor in causing your distress.

How Can I Prove Negligence?

Negligence is a leading cause of many 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.
  • 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 — such as shock, severe anguish, fright, anxiety, humiliation, for example — 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.

Can I File A Claim For Negligent Infliction Of Emotional Distress?

Accident victims or bystanders who witness injury or death may have the right to file a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Accident 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 have a right to file claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress but will have to prove several factors based on another person’s negligence.

Contact Us For A Free Case Assessment

You can preserve your legal rights by contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately after you experience a traumatic event. Email or call the Law Offices of John Rapillo today to get started on your legal case. We can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.