Recovery For The Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress
When a person suffers physical injuries, it is easy for people to understand a need for that person to be compensated for his or her losses. However, when people suffer emotional injuries that people cannot see or sometimes understand, it may become challenging for a person to recover for losses related to those injuries. Fortunately, Florida recognizes the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as other emotional distress claims related to physical injuries. Medical evidence and testimony can also provide support for an emotional distress injury.
The intentional infliction of emotional distress occurs when someone does something intentionally or recklessly that is so outrageous and extreme that any reasonable member of society would think it was intolerable and unacceptable in a civilized society. This definition can encompass a lot of outrageous conduct. However, ordinary conduct that would be considered rude does not rise to the degree of conduct required. For example, a person who bumps into you and then yells at you for being in his way, while upsetting to some people, would not be the kind of conduct the courts would consider extreme without more.
In most tort actions that involve physical injuries, the person causing the injury is responsible for the injured person’s injuries even if the injured person had a particular physical condition that caused the injury to be more serious than it would have been for an otherwise healthy person. Generally, in cases that involve emotional distress, if the conduct that caused the injury was extreme to the injured person because she has a particular physiological nature that makes her more sensitive than the average person, then it is unlikely that she would recover.
For intentional infliction cases, the court or jury focuses on the actions of the defendant. For example, a person who, intending to cause another person emotional distress or knowing that such distress would result, tells another person that a loved one is dead would likely to found liable for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Other situations that may produce outrageous behavior include extreme harassment by unscrupulous debt collectors, or even contentious custody disputes. Every situation is different and what may have been deemed outrageous behavior may not necessary be considered outrageous in another depending on the effect on the plaintiff.
Different from the Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
The intentional infliction of emotional distress should be distinguished from the negligent infliction of emotional distress. Generally, unlike the intentional infliction of emotional distress, a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim needs to be accompanied by proof of physical injuries as well as the emotional distress. People who are emotionally injured after witnessing something or learning that something has happened to another person with whom they have a close personal relationship may receive compensation for their emotional distress if certain elements are met.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered emotional distress due to the actions of another, you may be able to get compensation for that emotional distress. Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys from Boone & Davis for a consultation today.