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Questions about Emotional Distress Laws

What is emotional distress? Can I sue someone for verbal and emotional abuse?

There is a civil action known as intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). As the name suggests it allows you to sue another party for outrageous behavior intended to inflict extreme mental stress. The injured party would need to prove all related damages, which may include medical costs, any therapy or associated psychiatric hospital costs, and any related physical injury which needs therapy. Without these types of damages there would be little to assess and it may be futile to file a suit. The proof required for an IIED lawsuit would be:
  • Defendant directed their conduct towards the Plaintiff;
  • The conduct meted out was intentional and extreme enough to affect the Plaintiff;
  • The behavior was offensive by normal community standards;
  • Due to this action the Plaintiff faced extreme mental anguish; and
  • The claimant had to suffered damages due to this conduct.

A postal employee insensitively yelled about my domestic violence issue while delivering my mail. Can I sue him/her for emotional distress?

it is possible you can sue this person for negligently causing emotional distress. Physical manifestation of distress needs to be proved as a result of this trauma. If you have had a need to undergo additional sessions with your therapist, this could also prove emotional distress. If there were witnesses to this incident in which other people heard what was said, you can sue for invasion of privacy as well. A personal injury lawyer would be able to help you go about this in the correct manner.

My pet cat was killed by my neighbor’s dog which escaped through a broken fence. I got bitten by my cat during this incident. I had to undergo medical treatment for this. What can I do?

You may be able to sue for negligence on the part of your neighbor for not maintaining a secure fence that would have kept the dog at bay. You may be entitled to the amount of medical expenses that you incurred due to this incident irrespective of you having healthcare insurance. You are also eligible to receive a reasonable value for the pet you have lost. However, in this case, negligent infliction of emotional distress is not applicable since the law does not extend to animals. If the victim was a human being, then there could have been a case of “bystander” negligence. There is scope for a new law to be created for pets. But for an attorney to take a case like this, it would be if you have suffered too much mental trauma which involved professional intervention to deal with your emotional suffering.

What type of lawyer should I use if I have been emotionally distressed by my ex who has also intentionally damaged my house which was on sale, thereby reducing its sale value?

Usually a personal injury lawyer would handle an emotional distress case but a general civil litigator can handle both cases, including the damage to the property. An attorney practicing general civil litigation should be able to look into the merit of an emotional distress claim and a property damage claim as they would have knowledge and expertise in both.

If a doctor delays a diagnosis of fetal anomaly for three weeks though it does not change the outcome, can you sue for emotional distress while waiting for the results?

The key in this type of scenario is to determine whether the physician could have discovered the anomaly at the beginning of the anomaly and whether the earlier discovery would have enabled the patient to avoid emotional trauma. Several other doctors or specialists from the same field will need to review the medical records to confirm if the doctor failed to act in a timely fashion as per the state and community standards. You should retain all the records for legal purposes.

Everyone goes through emotional ups and downs. Sometimes the distress can be severe and extreme, when it is caused intentionally, and in if such a scenario you may require medical attention as well as psychiatric help, the law addresses such situations and may help you claim financial damages caused by this distress.
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Recent Emotional Distress Questions

  • does someone usually have to pay for a lawyers and doctors

    does someone usually have to pay for a lawyers and doctors time just to find out if they even have a case for emotional distress . no physical damage but trying to file a law suit there was no physical evidence that led to the accusation . but claims emotional damage. when looking for a lawyer to take this case wil a person have to pay for lawyers ,doctors and phsyciatrists time to even find out if person has a case a lawyer will take ?
  • In Feb 2013 my 11 year old son was on his bike when he was

    In Feb 2013 my 11 year old son was on his bike when he was run over by a white truck which did not stop. This happened about 100-150 yards from my home in a residential neighborhood in North Harris County, Texas. He had to be rushed to a hospital and fortunately he was OK except sustaining injuries on his right foot and it was a miracle how he survived. The police caught the driver after about 2 hrs since some people gave the color and the partial plate numbers and that the driver was a woman. She was working in a house 2 streets behind my house and that is where they caught her. I was told at that time that the woman was illegal in the country, had no insurance and had no driver's license. Anyway the police investigation took a long time and I received the report in Feb of 2014 which was on a DVD with all details except the name of the driver. The fault was very clearly that of the driver who came on the wrong side and then fled away. I had to pay for the hospital and other medical charges after whatever was paid by the insurance. The question is; what can I do about it? I don't know what has happened to the driver. She was employed by someone who must have known that she is illegal. The police would not give any information. I have found out the house since there is a picture and the street number. The medical insurance people called may times and then stopped after I told them about the report etc. I want to see that driver punished. XXX XXX

  • I need an expert on veterinarian animal malpractice law. My

    I need an expert on veterinarian animal malpractice law. My dog died after having her gallbladder removed two months ago. She died 4 days after the surgery while at the vet hospital in post operative care. The vet/surgeon was told us she was going back into to do a second surgery on day 2 to find out the cause of her bile leakage into her abdomen after the blood levels disclosed a bile leak from the surgery, but she did not and decided to treat my dog in a different manner in which she did not explain to us the pros and cons of either treatment and she did not apprise us at anytime how my dog was doing after her treatment even though we went twice a day to see my dog for 2 days after her treating her. I understand that If the vet/surgeon makes an explicit promise about what she will do(go back to surgery to find the leakage) then she can be held for liable for not fulfilling her promise to do so. And also she has a duty to keep us informed and obtain the necessary consent for the suggested treatment. We should have had a disclosure of the risk which she never discussed with us at all. The treatment she gave my dog I know now from another vet specialist could not have done anything but prolong my dogs death with severe suffering and and additional charge of $4000 on top of the $5000 I paid for the gallbladder surgery. What is your professional opinion on this matter. I have been emotionally distraught over this for 2 months now. Thanks PG
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