In Massachusetts, if you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. Perhaps you already know this. What you might not know, however, is that in some circumstances, you might also have the option to seek compensation for emotional pain that someone else has negligently inflicted on you.

Watch The Video

Experiencing negligent emotional distress due to someone else’s negligent actions can significantly impact your mental health and overall well-being. Victims of negligent infliction of emotional distress in Massachusetts may be able to seek compensation for their emotional suffering. This overview will discuss the process of doing so, the legal requirements involved in such a case, and the types of compensation you may be eligible to receive.

Understanding Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is a legal concept that provides victims with a means of recovering damages for the emotional distress they may have experienced because another party was careless, or negligent.

NIED claims are generally divided into two categories in Massachusetts: “bystander” and “direct victim” claims. Bystander claims involve circumstances in which a person witnesses a close family member being killed or seriously harmed due to another person’s negligence.

Direct victim claims, as the name implies, consist of situations in which a person experiences emotional distress as a direct result of another person’s negligence.

Legal Requirements for NIED Claims in Massachusetts

You must establish the following elements to pursue an NIED claim in Massachusetts:

Duty of care: You must prove the target of your claim had a responsibility to take reasonable steps to avoid causing you undue intentional emotional distress

Breach of duty: In some capacity, the defendant behaved negligently in a manner that represents a breach of their duty of care

Causation: Your emotional distress was a direct result of the defendant’s negligence

Damages: You incurred damages for which you may receive compensation

Massachusetts courts also require that the plaintiff meet the following additional criteria when filing a bystander NIED claim:

The plaintiff witnessed the injury or death of a close family member due to being physically present at the scene of an accident

The plaintiff’s resulting emotional distress was so severe and debilitating that it manifested in physical symptoms

NIED claims are generally divided into two categories in Massachusetts: “bystander” and “direct victim” claims.

Challenges in Proving NIED Claims

Proving an NIED claim can be difficult. Demonstrating the severity of your emotional distress is often challenging in these circumstances.

Physical injuries are more easily quantifiable. That’s not the case with emotional distress. Typically, the symptoms of emotional distress aren’t even visible.

Proving your emotional distress may require providing evidence of your emotional distress through medical records, testimony from mental health professionals, and accounts from others who can attest to the impact the emotional distress has had on your life.

It can also be difficult to establish a clear link between the defendant’s negligence and your emotional distress. Be aware, none of this is meant to discourage you from seeking the compensation for which you may be eligible if you believe you have a strong NIED claim. It’s simply meant to suggest that you might have greater odds of securing fair compensation if you have representation from a qualified legal professional.

Types of Compensation in Massachusetts NIED Claims

You may be entitled to compensation for your emotional distress and other related damages. This can include:

Medical expenses: You could potentially recover the costs of therapy, medication, and other such medical treatment you may have sought for your emotional distress

Lost wages: You may be able to recover compensation for lost wages or diminished earning capacity if your emotional distress prevented you from working

Pain and suffering: This compensation is meant to cover the general emotional distress you have experienced as a result of the defendant’s negligence

How a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney and Emotional Distress Attorney Can Help You

It’s highly advisable to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts if you suspect you might have justification to file an NIED claim. A lawyer can assist you by:

Reviewing your case to determine if it has merit

Conducting an investigation to gather evidence of the liable party’s negligence

Filing an insurance claim on your behalf

Evaluating the insurance company’s offers and entering into negotiations if warranted

The main point to understand is that, in Massachusetts, there are instances in which victims of negligence can seek compensation even if their injuries primarily consist of emotional distress. For more information about how a Boston emotional distress claim attorney can help you, contact Swartz & Swartz, P.C. online or call us at (617) 742-1900.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About the Author: David W. Faraci
David Faraci is an associate attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. David’s practice focuses on the representation of victims of all types of personal injuries and their families. David has experience working on a variety of litigation cases including medical malpractice, products liability, general negligence, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful death. Prior to joining Swartz & Swartz, David worked as an associate attorney at a boutique personal injury firm in Boston. David began his legal career in San Francisco, California where he worked as an associate attorney with a prominent Plaintiffs’ litigation firm.

Keep Reading

Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.