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What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a form of tort, also known as IIED or the “outrage tort.” It is a relatively new development in civil law meant to address old problems with common law. Before IIED was recognized as a kind of tort, injured parties only had a claim if they suffered from physical injury or were immediately threatened with physical harm.

Granted, the majority of personal injury claims do fall into one of these two categories. However, there is a certain kind of grievous misconduct that does not. When a person deliberately inflicts an outrageous level of psychological suffering on another person, the victim should certain be able to win some kind of compensation. This is especially true in cases where the tortfeasor, or guilty party, cannot be punished under any criminal law.

The Elements of Emotional Distress

In order to win damages for IIED, the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate four basic things:

  • The defendant either deliberately caused harm, or deliberately took actions that he or she knew might cause harm.
  • The defendant’s actions went far beyond accepted social standards.
  • The plaintiff suffered severe psychological distress.
  • The plaintiff’s distress was directly caused by the defendant’s deliberate actions.

Defining Outrageous

As you can see, IIED tort does not apply to behavior that is simply rude or hurtful. The tortfeasor must do something that is considered completely unacceptable in the local community. Examples include knowingly abusing a vulnerable person, or engaging in a long pattern of hurtful and manipulative conduct.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been injured by another party’s unacceptable behavior, contact Jacksonville tort of outrage lawyer Don Guthrie at 904-296-1088.

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