Michigan Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
We recently wrote about the intentional infliction of emotional distress in Michigan. Today, we’re going to inform you about its close cousin: negligent infliction of emotional distress.
First, let’s start by defining the requirements in a negligence case: 1) a duty, 2) a breach of that duty, 3) causation (both proximate cause and factual cause), and 4) damages.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress involves distress due to a person’s negligent act, but doesn’t require physical suffering on the part of the victim. There are 3 types of negligent infliction of emotional distress:
Near miss: The defendant acted negligently, and though the plaintiff isn’t physically injured, he or she is emotionally distressed by the incident. For example, Paul blows through a stop sign and comes within 10 inches of hitting a pregnant woman. The near accident causes extreme anxiety, which causes the lady to have a miscarriage. In order to prevail in this case, the woman must prove:
1. She was in the zone of physical danger
2. A subsequent manifestation of her distress
The woman couldn’t just say that she was losing sleep as a result of the incident. She needs a physical manifestation of her distress; something concrete to proves the emotional damage was real. A miscarriage would certainly qualify for that.
Bystander claims: A negligent person injured one of your loved ones and you witnessed the event. Proving this requires:
1. A familial relationship:
2. The event was perceived as it happened or fairly contemporaneously
For example, you’re working in your garden and witness your child getting hit by a car. You heard the car slam on its brakes and instantly turned around to see your child being tossed across the road. You have a case because this was a traumatizing experience and you were a bystander.
Highly foreseeable careless conduct that induces stress: this form of negligence results because of a business relationship with the negligent party, such as being caretaker or another position in which you’re entrusted with the person’s well-being. For example, the funeral parlor displays the wrong cadaver at your mom’s funeral.
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