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Can You Sue Someone for Causing Stress in New York?

Can You Sue Someone for Causing Stress in New York?

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress vs. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Stress is a part of life. There are so many things in our lives that bring us stress, and this includes other people. In most circumstances, a person simply stressing you out with their behavior is not grounds for a lawsuit unless that behavior crosses the line into the arena of emotional abuse. Emotional distress, however, is different in legal terms. When we discuss emotional distress as it refers to the law, we are talking about emotional distress that occurs as a result of a particular incident and another individual’s negligence.

New York courts recognize two claims for emotional distress: intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). Each of these claims comes with specific elements that need to be proven in order to recover damages, and a lawyer like the ones on the team at Belushin Law Firm, P.C. can help you understand both and help you pursue the claim that fits your case.

In order to establish a claim for IIED, you must be able to demonstrate that another individual intentionally caused suffering and severe emotional distress due to extreme conduct. This behavior must go beyond simple annoyances. In order to establish this kind of claim, the offense must go far beyond the bounds of decency. However, it is not necessary to have sustained bodily harm in order to recover damages in these cases. Examples of IIED can include racial insults, sex discrimination, false imprisonment, and conduct that threatens your physical security. In order to prove this kind of claim, the following requirements must be met:

  • The defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous
  • The defendant’s conduct was intended to cause severe emotional distress
  • There is a causal connection between the conduct and the injury
  • Severe emotional distress was created

To establish a claim for NIED, on the other hand, you would be required to prove that the defendant’s conduct caused mental anguish. Typically, there are physical injuries that accompany mental damages when making this type of claim. For example, emotional distress could have arisen as the result of a car crash that resulted due to another individual’s negligence. Negligent acts in this kind of case could include texting and driving, disregarding a red light, and failing to obey traffic signals. In order to prove this kind of claim, the following requirements must be met:

  • The defendant’s conduct must have caused some kind of physical contact or impact, or
  • The plaintiff must have been in the “zone of danger” of the defendant’s negligent act, or
  • It must have been foreseeable that the defendant’s negligent conduct would have caused the plaintiff emotional harm

The Zone of Danger Rule in New York

New York is unique from many other states in that it honors the “zone of danger” rule. This means that an individual might be able to recover damages for witnessing an accident involving an immediate family member. This rule allows an individual who was threatened with bodily harm to recover damages for emotional distress due to the fact that they viewed the death or serious injury of their immediate family member. In order to establish a claim under the “zone of danger” rule, the plaintiff must prove the following:

  • There was a possibility that the plaintiff could have been seriously or fatally injured in the accident along with their loved one
  • The plaintiff was contemporaneously aware of the serious injury or death of their loved one
  • The injury was sustained by the plaintiff’s parent, child, or sibling
  • The plaintiff sustained a physical or emotional injury due to witnessing the accident

As you can see, there are so many nuances when it comes to filing emotional distress claims. While it is certainly a possibility to sue someone for causing stress in New York, a unique set of circumstances must be present in order for the claim to be successful. The team at Belushin Law Firm, P.C. will help you present your medical records, witness testimonies, and other relevant information in a way that will help produce the most favorable outcome for you. Our goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve for the stress you have suffered, but we will also remove much of the stress out of the legal process that follows the incident.

For more information on IIEDs, NIEDs, and suing for emotional distress in New York, call Belushin Law Firm, P.C. at (888) 918-9890 or contact us online.

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