Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress—Bystander Claims

Infliction-of-Emotional-Distress

If you’ve ever witnessed a serious accident, seen someone hurt in a car accident or a work-related accident, you know that the emotional impact can be devastating. You can relive the event for months or years, and experience significant emotional trauma, particularly if the person who was injured or killed was a close friend or family member. Do you have any recourse against the defendant for your emotional distress?

The laws governing the right to seek damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress vary from state to state. In New Jersey, a person may bring a lawsuit for emotional losses under a number of circumstances:

  • Where the defendant’s carelessness put the victim in reasonable apprehension of immediate and serious personal injury—For example, if a motor vehicle operator negligently runs a stop sign and nearly hits a pedestrian, that person may have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, provided a jury finds that he or she reasonably feared being hit by the car
  • Even if a person does not have reasonable fear of injury and wasn’t in the “zone of danger” caused by the accident, a person who observes an accident as a bystander may seek damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress, provided the following four requirements can be shown:
    • The defendant caused the death or serious injury of another person
    • That person was married to or had an intimate family relationship with the person seeking damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress-engaged couples living together are considered to have such a relationship
    • The plaintiff witnessed the event that caused death or serious injury
    • That observation caused severe emotional distress

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a needless injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

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Freehold

86 Court Street,
Freehold NJ 07728

Telephone: 732-780-0230
Fax: 732-780-5002

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250 Washington St
Toms River NJ 08753

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3247 Route 88
Point Pleasant NJ 08742

Telephone: 732-780-0230
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