What Is Emotional Distress?
The legal definition of emotional distress is anything that causes you to have a negative emotional reaction. Your reaction may include fright, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, and anything else that causes mental or emotional pain.
What Is Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
To show that you have experienced negligent infliction of emotional distress, you must be able to show that you have been injured by the negligent conduct of someone else. Typically you must be able to show:
- The person was negligent in their conduct or committed a willful violation of their statutory duty
- You suffered serious emotional distress as a result of their actions
- Their actions were the direct cause of your emotional distress
What Is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
This if often referred to as the tort of outrage. In order to sue for international infliction of emotional distress, you must be able to show the following:
- The person who was the source of the emotional distress acted recklessly or intentionally. For example, a physician who gives you a misdiagnosis of cancer based on the misreading of your medical testing, may not only be guilty of medical malpractice, but could be guilty of invoking emotional distress.
- Their behavior was extreme and outrageous. This may be due to the person taking advantage of their position of power over you when you were vulnerable, the pattern of their behavior, the use of racial epithets, or that fact that they hold a legal or ethical relationship of trust over you.
- Their behavior was the direct cause of your emotional pain. This behavior could be through words or deeds. While this is generally easy to show when there is an accident, physical injuries, or tragic events attached to your case, it is much more difficult to show when these factors may not be present.
- You have suffered severe emotional pain as a result of the person’s actions. To determine this the court may consider the intensity and duration of your pain, as well as any related physical manifestation of it such as ulcers or headaches.