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The Negligent Infliction Of Emotional Distress In Ohio

The negligent infliction of emotional distress is an actionable tort in Ohio, meaning that the person who suffers the emotional distress can bring a lawsuit to seek damages from the person causing the harm. Generally, a person may receive compensation for the negligent infliction of emotional distress if he either witnesses or experiences a traumatic incident, or is subjected to an actual physical danger or threat caused by the negligence of another.

When a person witnesses a traumatic incident, his resulting emotional distress must be serious and reasonably foreseeable in order to receive compensation. The person also has to prove that he was a bystander to the incident, that he reasonably appreciated the danger of the incident – even if no one was injured – and that he suffered emotional distress as a result of witnessing the incident and appreciating the danger involved. A traumatic incident sufficient to cause emotional distress can be a terrible car accident involving fatalities, or a construction accident where a bystander is injured by falling debris.

The requirement that the emotional distress be reasonably foreseeable usually means that the injured person has a better chance at recovery if: he was near the location of the traumatic incident or event; he witnessed the incident, as opposed to hearing about it from other witnesses; and, if he was related to the person injured in the event. However, if the person who suffers the emotional distress is also involved in the traumatic incident, they are also more likely to receive compensation, even when he or she is not a relative of the injured person. For example, if a person is involved in a car accident with a friend, and watches the friend die in the accident, he may receive compensation from the negligent driver who caused the car accident for the emotional distress caused by having to watch his friend die.

Although physical injury is not required in order for a person to receive compensation for emotional distress, a person who sustains a physical injury is more likely to meet a lower burden of proof than one with no injuries. For example, a person who witnesses a shock and suffers a heart attack or collapses and injuries himself is more likely to receive compensation for emotional distress than a person who only suffers an emotional reaction to the same incident.

The negligent infliction of emotional distress is distinguishable from the intentional infliction of emotional distress, which requires a showing or proving of different elements in order to succeed in court. At its heart, the intentional infliction of emotional distress requires a showing of intentional or reckless behavior on the defendant’s part, as well as the defendant engaging in what is referred to as extreme and outrageous conduct.

Contact Us For Legal Assistance

If you witnessed a traumatic event, or were injured in an accident where you witnessed the serious injury or death of a friend or family member, you may be able to receive compensation for your emotional distress. Contact Columbus personal injury attorney Ed Schottenstein of Schottenstein Law Offices for a complimentary consultation. We arrange free valet parking for our clients, too. Call us TODAY at (614) 467-8474​.