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Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress In California Personal Injury Accidents

A frightening car accident or a fall on someone’s California property might leave you physically injured and in need of extensive medical care. You are absolutely within your rights to seek recovery support from a negligent driver or property owner.

But what happens if you weren’t physically harmed by someone else’s actions, but only suffered emotional trauma and serious levels of fear or anxiety?

Your emotional hardships after such an encounter may also earn compensation in an insurance claim or lawsuit, even if you weren’t physically hurt. What’s more, if you can prove that your trauma was caused by an intentional act, you may earn additional money through an “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress” claim.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving California Victims

If you suffer serious emotional trauma from an encounter with an individual or group, you might wonder if you have a legal claim for damages against the at-fault party. There’s a no-risk way to learn if you might have a strong case against the person who caused harm to your mental wellbeing.

Schedule a free case consultation with Maison Law of California. You’ll talk to a real California personal injury attorney. Find out what your case involving emotional distress may be worth. It’s also a great opportunity to be informed of some of the tactics insurance companies use to limit the amount of financial support the victims of emotional trauma earn.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims in California Accident Cases

The concept of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) makes it possible for victims to earn damages in a claim against a party that intentionally causes mental trauma.

The factors in an IIED case involve an individual’s over-the-top and outrageous actions towards the victim that causes extreme anxiety. The actions are so reprehensible that they are considered “intentional.”

An incident may also cause such a mental shock that the trauma causes physical symptoms for the plaintiff. In either case, a party found at fault may owe the victim substantial compensation.

What’s more, an IIED incident also opens up the possibility of punitive damages being assessed against the defendant. This additional punishment results in the plaintiff earning even more money.

Proving Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Generally, a victim of IIED would need to show several factors were true of an incident before having a chance to recover damages.

  • The defendant’s conduct must be shown to be outrageous and outside the normal scope of civilized behavior.
  • The defendant intended to cause emotional distress through fear, intimidation, or other threatening behavior that could reasonably be expected to harm someone’s mental state.
  • The defendant’s conduct is responsible for the victim’s emotional distress.

Proving Actions Were Outrageous In an IIED Case

Defendants are shown to have engaged in “outrageous” or abominable acts when they have prior knowledge of the effects their behavior would have on the victim. Intent can also be proven when the at-fault parties should have reasonably known about the effects their behavior would have. This is known as acting with “reckless disregard.”

Defendants’ actions may be proven “outrageous” by showing they knew about the defendant’s vulnerability to emotional distress and took advantage. The defendant may also face accusations of abusing a position of authority.

Plaintiffs, and their California Personal Injury Attorneys, would demonstrate the adverse effects of the resulting dread, grief, humiliation, discrimination, anguish, nervousness, and other overwhelmingly negative feelings.

Compensation Available in an Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Case

Victims suffering from emotional trauma may not have the visible scars of a physical injury, but the consequences can be just as devastating. Lifestyles can change. Outgoing people can suddenly become withdrawn and avoid social situations.

Their distress may even make it impossible to return to their workplaces and face coworkers. Victims and their families can experience great changes in family life. The goal is to help victims afford the care they need to enable them to rebuild their lives.

A California Personal Injury Lawyer can help victims earn a settlement check that includes compensation for these factors and more:

  • Medical expenses for any physical symptoms caused by mental trauma.
  • The costs of psychological counseling and prescribed medication.
  • Travel reimbursement for trips to healthcare appointments.
  • Reimbursement for lost paychecks while the victim is away from work.
  • Other consequences of emotional trauma such as changes in relationships with family and friends. The inability to participate in family activities.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life when mental trauma keeps you from doing the things you love.

Punitive Damages in Intentional Infliction of Emotional Damage Cases

When a defendant’s behavior is particularly shocking or appalling, a judge also has the option to assess punitive damages. These damages are meant to add extra punishment for those found guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The penalties are above and beyond the compensation awarded to the victim. These fines are meant to deter the person or others from engaging in emotionally abusive behavior ever again.

The good news is that even though punitive damages aren’t levied for the benefit of victims, plaintiffs still get to keep any money recovered. This can add substantially more to any compensation a victim is awarded.

Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been physically hurt and/or emotionally traumatized due to an intentional act, please make sure you know your rights as a victim.

Discuss your case with attorney Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law of California, in a free, no-obligation consultation. Find out what your injury and mental distress are worth before allowing an insurance company to decide your level of compensation.

Mr. Gasparian has worked for major corporations and dealt with some of the biggest insurers in the world. He now uses his knowledge and experience to make sure everyday people receive fair treatment from insurance adjusters after a traumatic accident.

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