Personal injuries can cause immense physical pain, financial stress, and can interfere with daily life. They can also be devastating emotionally. The law recognizes all of these different types of harms and permits victims to recover damages based on each of them. When a victim has suffered mental and emotional harm as a result of a negligent act, they are able to bring a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the party responsible to recover pain and suffering damages.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED) Claims and the “Impact Rule”
When a plaintiff can sue for NIED varies from state to state, but all states limit the situations in which a plaintiff can recover for emotional harm. Some states follow the “foreseeability rule,” which holds that a defendant must have reasonably foreseen that their conduct would cause emotional distress to the plaintiff. Other states utilize a “zone of danger rule,” which limits NIED claims to those plaintiffs that were within immediate risk of physical harm.
Georgia does not follow the foreseeability or zone of danger rules but instead follows the classic common law called “impact rule.” According to this rule, it doesn’t matter if the emotional distress was foreseeable or if the victim was within a zone of physical danger. Under the impact rule, the emotional distress must stem from a physical injury caused by the defendant. The upshot of the impact rule is that plaintiffs cannot bring a claim for NIED that stands apart from a physical injury, and NIED claims are therefore merged into the general compensatory damages sought by a plaintiff in a case. However, if a defendant’s conduct was “outrageous,” an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim can be brought as an independent claim.
Common Types of Emotional Distress in Personal Injury Cases
If a plaintiff can prove that the emotional harm they suffered is tied to a physical injury, they can recover damages for that harm. Common types of emotional distress suffered in personal injury cases include:
- Trouble Sleeping
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
If you have been the victim of a personal injury caused by someone else’s wrongful conduct and suffered any of these harms as a result, you are entitled to compensation for your emotional distress. In Georgia, there is no cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded for emotional distress.
For More Information, Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC
When victims are harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, they deserve compensation for what they have suffered. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Joel Williams Law, LLC, are dedicated to getting justice for accident victims in the state of Georgia. If you have been injured in an accident, they can help you understand your case, take the correct legal steps, and ultimately work to maximize your compensation.
If you would like more information or if you would like to discuss your case, contact Joel Williams Law, LLC, today by calling (404) 389-1035 to schedule a free case evaluation.