When an accident or injury occurs, adding up some types of losses is simple. Medical bills, pay-stubs, receipts, and invoices can show what money you’ve had to pay to restore yourself to the state you were in before the event.
Other types of damages are tougher to calculate. And when the injury to you is primarily psychological, rather than physical, adding up the damage and predicting the costs of your future needs is even more difficult. When can you seek monetary compensation for emotional distress in New Jersey?
Typically, one of two situations will apply:
Pain and Suffering
In a case involving negligence, such as a car accident or slip and fall, emotional and psychological injuries from the event will typically be covered by “non-economic” damages, including damages for pain and suffering. New Jersey does not “cap,” or limit, these damages, giving you the chance to receive the full amount of damages that you can demonstrate is appropriate.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
For situations where someone intentionally sets out to devastate you emotionally, New Jersey recognizes a tort called “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” or IIED. This tort is more difficult to prove in court than negligence. In Buckley v. Trenton Saving Fund Society, the New Jersey Supreme Court stated that to hold someone else liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, an injured person must prove that:
· The other person acted intentionally or recklessly to cause the emotional distress,
· The other person’s behavior was “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,
· The other person’s behavior caused emotional distress,
· The emotional distress suffered was “so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.”
Psychological and emotional injuries, such as post-traumatic stress, are just as damaging and can be just as debilitating as physical harm. If you’ve suffered extreme emotional distress due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act, talk to an experienced New Jersey lawyer who can help you understand and explore your legal options.