Although our society has had a tendency of discounting emotional distress as something that should be dismissed as a personal character flaw, the unfortunate reality is that suffering this type of injury can have very real and unavoidable consequences. This type of harm can be far more damaging and longer lasting than physical injury. The consequences of emotional distress can cause intense psychological pain and mental anguish, as well as severe trauma-induced stress, panic, anxiety, depression.
Emotional Distress With Physical Injury
If you endured injury as a result of someone else’s reckless, intentional, malicious, or negligent actions, you may be able to file a claim for the emotional distress you suffered, as well.
Emotional Distress Without Physical Injury
What if there was no evidence of physical harm, yet you still suffered from severe psychological pain, torture, despair, agony, or similar emotional damage? In some cases, victims have been able recover financial compensation for suffering extreme emotional distress as a result of someone else’s harmful conduct whether or not actual direct physical harm was involved to the affected party.
Negligent and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
West Virginia recognizes both negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress as independent causes of action. What this means is that you may be eligible to pursue damages for emotional and/or psychological trauma caused by someone else’s unacceptably extreme and outrageous actions against you in a standalone claim.
Select Limitations On Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims
In allegations of negligent infliction of emotional distress, West Virginia currently maintains that you must have either:
-Suffered fear of contracting a disease
-Witnessed a person closely related to you suffer critical injury or death
Under qualified or official immunity, state agencies and their employees typically cannot be held accountable for any type of negligent act at this time.
Actions Causing Extreme Emotional Distress
Perhaps you witnessed a loved one being badly injured or killed. You may have been held hostage against your will in a situation in which you were in fear for your life or afraid you would be seriously injured. Those who have suffered sexual abuse and assault may experience an especially significant degree of emotional distress. Supervisors whose outrageous conduct toward subordinate employees is shown to have caused, contributed to, or acquiesced in the infliction of emotional distress upon employees may also be held liable, as well as those whose acts of defamation and other non-physical conduct can be found to be of an extreme, emotionally damaging nature. Some types of intentional, negligent, or reckless conduct that could cause an individual to experience serious emotional distress may include:
Coal Mining Injuries
Commercial Truck Accidents
Fire, Explosions, & Blasting Injuries
Fracking & Marcellus Shale Injuries
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Oil and Gas Rig Accidents
Premises Liability Violations
Slip and Fall Accidents
Swimming Pool Accidents
Pregnant Women, Elderly, Children, Sick & Disabled More Affected
Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may be eligible to file a claim for emotional distress. Notably, individuals having an especially “fragile” condition (including pregnant women, children, the elderly, ill and disabled) are often considered more likely to be affected by emotional distress – and suffer more severely – as a result of their particular vulnerability.
How Is Emotional Distress Determined?
Although each case is unique and must be considered in light of the actual facts involved (and the court may consider additional factors, as well), there are a few general things that must be considered to prevail in a claim for negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. All of the following must be true.
1. The defendant’s conduct was atrocious, intolerable, and so extreme and outrageous as to exceed the bounds of decency.
2. The defendant acted with the intent to inflict emotional distress, or acted recklessly when it was certain or substantially certain emotional distress would result from his conduct.
3. The actions of the defendant caused the plaintiff to suffer emotional distress.
4. The emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff was so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.
West Virginia does not typically grant immunity to spouses or the parents of unemancipated children in claims of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress; However, no liability can be found from the application of reasonable corporate punishment required for disciplinary purposes of minor children.
Contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law
Pursuing a claim for emotional distress can be complicated. Because the symptoms are not usually readily observable in most cases, precise documentation and other intensive methods may be required to establish the basis for your case. Therefore, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible.
At Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law, we understand the extreme degree of pain that can result from serious psychological harm. Our dedicated trial lawyers take claims of serious emotional harm seriously. We are intent to fight for the maximum financial compensation allowed by law for our clients. If you believe the negligent, intentional or reckless actions of another have left you emotionally scarred, contact our law firm immediately for a free initial case evaluation. Call Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law 24-hours a day at: (304) 292-4381.