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May 22, 2023 | Personal Injury

Suing for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in New York

What You Need to Know If You Suffered Emotional Distress After an Accident or Injury

If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you might not only have physical injuries but also emotional ones. Both types of harm are serious and can lead to lifelong health problems. Therefore, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney to determine your rights.

At Ajlouny Injury Law, we represent individuals who have been seriously injured in accidents throughout New York City. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive the largest recovery possible, including compensation for non-economic damages such as negligent infliction of emotional distress. If you suffered emotional trauma due to another person’s actions or omissions, contact our office today at (718) 233-3913 for FREE legal advice. 

What Is Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?

When an individual suffers emotional distress or trauma due to another person’s conduct, the State of New York recognizes two causes of action. The first is the intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Under this form of harm, a person’s emotional trauma is caused by someone else’s intentional or reckless conduct. The conduct must be extreme and outrageous.

However, New York also allows individuals to file a claim for the negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). The state recognizes two theories of liability for the negligent infliction of emotional distress: the direct duty theory and the bystander or “zone of danger” theory. Before filing a claim for NIED under either of these theories, you should consult with an attorney.

How to Prove a Claim for NIED under the Direct Duty Theory

If you were owed a duty of care by the defendant and they breached that duty resulting in your severe emotional distress, you might be entitled to compensation under the direct duty theory.

To prove a claim under the “direct duty theory,” a person must prove:

  • The defendant owed them a duty that they breached;
  • The defendant “unreasonably endangered” the physical safety of the plaintiff or caused the plaintiff to fear for their safety;
  • The conduct of the defendant was outrageous and extreme;
  • The conduct of the defendant caused the plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress. 

All claims related to the infliction of emotional distress are difficult to prove without the help of an attorney. It is always in your best interest to discuss your claim with a lawyer as early as possible. 

How to Prove a Claim for NIED Under the Bystander Theory

New York is one of the few states to recognize a second theory of liability in which a plaintiff may file a claim based on NEID. The bystander or “zone of danger” theory says that a plaintiff who witnessed the death or serious injury of their family member due to another person’s unreasonable behavior may be entitled to compensation. 

To file a successful claim based on the bystander theory, a plaintiff must prove:

  • The defendant’s unreasonable behavior exposed the plaintiff and an immediate family member to physical harm;
  • The plaintiff witnessed the serious injury or death of their immediate family member; 
  • The conduct of the defendant was a substantial factor in the serious injury or death of the family member; and
  • The actions caused the plaintiff to suffer extreme emotional distress.

To determine if you have a valid claim based on the bystander or zone of danger theory, you need to speak with an attorney about your case.

Did You Suffer Emotional Distress After an Accident?

If you suffered severe emotional trauma after an accident, you might be entitled to a claim for damages based on the negligent infliction of emotional distress. Contact our office today at (718) 233-3913 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We offer FREE legal advice for injury victims throughout N

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