Under What Circumstances Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?


Quick Answer

An individual can sue for emotional distress if he suffers emotionally as a result of outrageous and intentional misconduct by another person, explains AllLaw. The intentional action need not result in personal injury to the plaintiff. When an individual suffers emotional injury due to negligence on another person’s part, the former may sue the latter for emotional distress.

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Full Answer

A claim for emotional distress is admissible in court if the defendant engages in extreme and outrageous conduct and recklessly harms the plaintiff, states AllLaw. In such a case, the defendant is also liable for bodily harm that may occur to the plaintiff. A person may sue if he suffers emotional harm when a person who holds authority or power over him abuses that authority. In case a person with authority, such as a school head or landlord, abuses his position in an extreme way, he is liable to the plaintiff for emotional distress.

A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress may occur due to carelessness on the defendant’s part. Personal injury need not be part of the lawsuit. The claim is admissible under three conditions: the defendant must have caused physical contact with the plaintiff or caused something to contact the plaintiff; the defendant’s action must impact the plaintiff directly; and it must be foreseeable that the action would cause emotional distress, explains AllLaw.

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