Claims for Emotional Distress
Emotional distress comes in many forms but, in general, it is conduct that causes a severe trauma to a person by the infliction of emotional distress and as such, damages may be awarded to the victim. Emotional distress is a hard case to prove and it takes a knowledgeable Ohio attorney that has been involved in this type of case to handle your claim for you. They will know how to litigate your case for you and what damages are appropriate in your situation. You may be entitled to compensation for mental anguish and suffering caused by harassment, defamation or even personal injury.
In Ohio, there are two distinct claims that can be made for emotional distress; intentional infliction and negligent infliction. Intentional infliction of emotional distress requires extreme and outrageous behavior that dangerously and recklessly brings about the distress, with or without bodily harm, while negligent infliction comes about because of accidental conduct. Not all offensive conduct, however, can be classified as emotional distress, as our society has its share of rude and offensive people. We are expected to get on with our lives and weather rude and obnoxious behavior. It is when the rudeness rises to an unconscionable level and causes emotional distress, anguish and humiliation that recovery may be sought.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress arises when extreme and outrageous behavior intentionally and recklessly causes the distress and possible physical injury. In order to prove this, the behavior must exceed all bounds of common decency and the person must intend to cause and inflict severe distress and be aware of the consequences of their actions. Their behavior must show deliberate disregard to the possibility of severe emotional distress.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress is the concept that one has a legal duty to avoid causing emotional distress to another. If one fails in this duty they may be liable for damages. There is no need to show intent, as an accidental infliction, if negligent, is sufficient. Some states have an "impact rule" which states that something from the defendants' negligent act had an impact on the plaintiff, be it even as minor as a pebble; or a "zone of danger rule" requiring that the plaintiff was in immediate risk and in fear of injury; or a "foreseeability rule," in that the defendant must have been reasonably able to see the consequences of their action upon the plaintiff.
Most states require that the emotional distress be so severe as to cause physical harm. This might manifest itself by sleeplessness, loss of appetite, ulcers, headaches, persistent anxiety and paranoia; and the symptoms appeared immediately after the incident, causing the bodily harm. Sometimes the actions of the defendant were so disturbing they will suffice to show emotional distress and the plaintiff will not need to show much evidence. Your attorney will handle all this for you so you can work to recover the peace of mind you once enjoyed.