When an individual who was physically injured due to the negligence of another files a personal injury lawsuit to recoup his losses, it is common for him to list emotional harm damages as part of his claim. However, if the plaintiff was not physically impacted by the defendant but still wishes to sue for damages based solely on emotional harm suffered they may be able to do so by filing a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim (commonly referred to as a NIED claim). Read on for a brief overview of NIED claims under Florida law.
What is Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
In a nutshell, negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is a type of personal injury claim in which the plaintiff alleges that the defendant acted so carelessly that they should be held liable for the severe mental anguish/emotional injury that the plaintiff suffered as a result. For example, if a truck driver negligently runs a red light and almost hits a pedestrian that pedestrian may be able to recover damages under a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress if the shock of the accident caused him to suffered a heart attack.
Requisite Elements of an NIED Claim in Florida
The required elements of an NIED claim under Florida law has changed significantly over time, and the current state of the law can sometimes be a bit tricky to accurately decipher. However, at its core, a successful negligent infliction of emotional distress claim in Florida must include proof of the following elements:
- The plaintiff was within the “zone of danger”, and
- The plaintiff displayed physical symptoms of distress/psychological trauma due to the defendant’s actions even though the plaintiff did not suffer physical impact.
For example, if the defendant was driving drunk and almost hit the plaintiff while he was walking down the sidewalk, the plaintiff would likely be able to collect damages via a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim in Florida if the car only narrowly missed hitting him (i.e. the plaintiff was within the zone of danger) and, as a result, the plaintiff suffered a heart attack (i.e. displayed physical symptoms of psychological trauma).
Third Party Claims for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
It should also be noted that, under some circumstances, a third party can also rightfully collect damages in a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim in Florida. This most frequently happens when someone witnesses a loved one suffer a physical impact due to a defendant’s negligence. For example, if a mother suffers from a heart attack after seeing her child get hit by a negligent driver right in front of her eyes, she would likely be able to recover under a NIED claim in Florida.
Questions? Contact a Local Personal Injury Attorney
Do you have questions about filing a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress in Florida? If so, the experienced Ocala personal injury lawyers of Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law are here to help. We understand that the prospect of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can be daunting and that the law surrounding NIED claims can be confusing, therefore, we offer prospective clients a chance to get their questions answered during a free initial consultation at our Ocala office. To schedule an appointment simply fill out our online contact form or give us a call toll free at 352-558-8480.