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Can You Sue for Emotional Distress in Nevada?

What is emotional distress?

Emotional distress is a type of damage that you can claim compensation for after an accident. For someone to successfully claim emotional distress, there must be some kind of mental distress/disturbance symptoms that are present following a traumatic experience, like a car accident. It is important to note that the mental distress/disturbance symptoms must be the direct result of the traumatic experience in question.

Examples of symptoms of emotional distress can be anxiety, Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD), depression, hallucinations, sleep deprivation, lack of focus, confused emotions, and rage. Other symptoms may also be present.

Symptoms such as those listed above can affect a person’s life and could require professional help to manage. Mental distress/disturbance can also result in physical symptoms.

What are the different types of emotional distress?

There are two types of emotional distress in law; negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED): This occurs when the defendant’s negligence causes a traumatic event, such as a car crash, resulting in the victim suffering from emotional distress. The distress must result from a physical injury or be so severe that it results in physical symptoms.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED): The conduct displayed by the defendant must be extreme, intolerable, or reckless. An example of this would be long term harassment directed toward the victim. The conduct must be proven to be intentional beyond a reasonable doubt. The emotional distress that results from this conduct must be severe. Physical symptoms alongside the mental distress/disturbance is not required.

Car accidents always fall under negligent infliction of emotional distress since they are not intentional events.

What are the damages/compensation for emotional distress?

In Nevada there is no set amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover for NIED. This means that the jury will decide the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover. The only limit on the amount of damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress is that the jury’s determination must be fair and reasonable in light of the facts of the case.

Who can file a claim for emotional distress?

In Nevada, claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress can be brought by a direct victim, a bystander who witnesses an accident and was closely related to the victim, or in the case of negligent handling of a deceased person’s remains, a close family member who was aware of both the death of the loved one and that mortuary services were being performed.

“Closely related” in Nevada law for purposes of emotional distress means the victim is a person in your immediate family, a relative by blood or marriage, or when the nature and quality of the relationship reflects actual closeness. This means that friends, roommates, significant others who you are not married to, or a member of your non-immediate family are not “closely related” persons under the law and you would not be able to recover damages as a bystander witnessing an accident involving one or more of these persons.

What are the elements of emotional distress?

The elements of a claim for NIED in Nevada are: (1) the defendant negligently caused an accident or injury; (2) plaintiff was either the person who was injured or someone with a close family relationship to the injured person; (3) the plaintiff saw the accident or injury; and (4) as a result of seeing or experiencing the accident, the plaintiff suffered distress.

If you suffer from emotional distress as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional actions, please reach out to Van Law Firm today at (725) 900-9000 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our experienced emotional distress attorneys can evaluate your case and help you determine your next steps.