Being involved in a serious accident can result in a lot of distress. Your adrenaline spikes, and you go into fight-or-flight mode. If you are injured, you may not feel the pain immediately because of the shock. In addition to physical injuries, you are likely experiencing emotional distress. In some cases, you can get compensation for that harm.
If you’re injured in a wreck, you could qualify for compensation from the at-fault party for your economic and non-economic damages, damages like emotional distress. Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. can help guide you through the process of gaining that compensation. Call (212) 490-5700 for more information.
An emotional response after an accident is normal. You may feel fear, anger, shock, and other emotions. However, if your level of emotion reaches intense distress, you may be able to recover compensation.
To get money for emotional distress after an accident, you must prove the following:
Suppose you can prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. In that case, you may recover compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) or negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). A preponderance of the evidence means that it’s more likely than not, as proven by more than 50% of the evidence.
There are two types of emotional distress: intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). Each is a bit different according to New York laws.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) involves deliberate conduct by a defendant. For example, direct verbal threats intentionally inflict emotional distress upon a victim.
The intentional conduct must be outrageous, indecent, atrocious, and so unwelcome in contemporary society and culture that it is unacceptable.
The specific elements of IIED include:
A person may also act recklessly and cause IIED.
A person might be liable for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) if they acted negligently instead of intentionally. The specific elements of negligence include:
For example, all drivers have a duty to other people on the road to be sober. This is a matter of law. Suppose a defendant breaches that commitment and drives intoxicated, especially on multiple occasions, and they cause an accident that results in emotional distress to the plaintiff. In that case, they can be held liable for NIED. In some extreme cases, their reckless behavior may rise to IIED.
The type of emotional distress you can recover money for must be extreme.
For example, if someone repeatedly threatens you with a pattern of reckless behavior, you may become fearful to the point that you must change your lifestyle. This extreme fear is an example of emotional distress.
If someone tries to run you off the road in a fit of road rage and follows you to your home, their actions are highly reckless and even intentional. You may suffer PTSD from such an event and be unable to drive after the event.
A bystander rule, or “Zone of Danger,” theory of liability is associated with NIED. Under this theory, a person who was not injured may recover from the defendant if:
To recover compensation under New York’s zone of danger rule, you must also prove that there was a real possibility that you may have suffered severe injury or death, you were aware of your family member’s injury or death at the time it happened, and the victim was an immediate relative (parent, child, sibling, or grandchild).
Filing an emotional distress lawsuit can be difficult. You often must file it with other damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. In most cases, IIED and NIED require the same types of proof as these other losses.
It’s important to document all the losses associated with your emotional distress. That will involve mental health records, a journal, and anything else proving you had debilitating emotional distress.
Insurance companies frequently deny IIED and NIED claims; you will likely have to file a lawsuit to get what you deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you draft necessary legal documents and meet all required deadlines.
In New York, to meet the statute of limitations, or deadline, you must file an IIED or NIED lawsuit within one year of the event. If you file a lawsuit after that deadline, you may forfeit your right to compensation, no matter how strong your case is.
One of the most essential steps in an IIED or NIED case is hiring a personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle these complex cases. The legal team at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. has helped countless clients like you. Call us today at (212) 490-5700 or use our online contact form to reach out.
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