Acclaimed Litigators For
Catastrophic Injuries

Photo of Sidney Stillerman Royer and Mark Leemon

Suing for emotional distress

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Victims of Violent Crime

Being a victim of a serious violent crime can devastate an individual’s emotional well-being. While physical injuries may be apparent, psychological injuries resulting from the crime are often overlooked.

In Seattle, victims of crime can pursue emotional distress claims as part of a larger personal injury or crime victim litigation case. These may be based on intentional or negligent conduct that causes severe emotional harm to the victim.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED)

IIED is a tort or civil wrong that occurs when someone intentionally causes severe emotional distress to another person. Victims of violent crimes, such as assault, battery, rape and murder are particularly vulnerable to IIED.

To prove IIED, the victim must demonstrate that the defendant engaged in life-threatening contemptible behavior that caused the victim to suffer severe emotional distress. Examples may include threats, harassment or other intentional psychological abuse.

Victims of IIED may be entitled to damages, including compensation for medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED)

Meanwhile, NIED is a legal concept that allows individuals to recover damages when they suffer emotional harm because of someone else’s negligent conduct. This is based on a defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care. Claims here can arise in various situations. Examples include car accidents, medical malpractice and other forms of negligence.

To establish a claim for NIED, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligent conduct caused severe emotional distress. In some cases, a plaintiff may recover damages for NIED even if they did not suffer physical injuries. Note that the rules governing NIED claims vary from state to state. In some states, plaintiffs may need to meet specific legal requirements to be successful in their claims.

Pursuing an emotional distress claim in Seattle requires proper documentation and evidence of your emotional distress. It would help if you considered seeking medical attention immediately, as these records can be used as evidence to support your emotional distress claim.