In an employment defamation case, when asserting a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress, do I have to prove I was distress by providing medical records and proving that I saw a doctor for the distress?
Family Law Attorney
To answer briefly, Yes generally you need to prove damages.
In more detail: The California Supreme Court has allowed plaintiffs to bring negligent
infliction of emotional distress actions as “direct victims” in only three types
of factual situations: (1) the negligent mishandling of corpses (Christensen v.
Superior Court (1991) 54 Cal.3d 868, 879 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 79, 820 P.2d 181]);
(2) the negligent misdiagnosis of a disease that could potentially harm
another (Molien v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (1980) 27 Cal.3d 916, 923
[167 Cal.Rptr. 831, 616 P.2d 813]); and (3) the negligent breach of a duty
arising out of a preexisting relationship (Burgess v. Superior Court (1992) 2
Cal.4th 1064, 1076 [9 Cal.Rptr.2d 615, 831 P.2d 1197]). I am assuming that you are asserting a claim as to the 3rd type of case arising from your defamation. The elements that you need to prove to be successful on a NIED claim are
1)That the defendant was negligent;
2. That you suffered serious emotional distress;
3. That defendant's negligence was a substantial
factor in causing your serious emotional
Emotional distress includes suffering, anguish, fright, horror,
nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, and shame.
Serious emotional distress exists if an ordinary, reasonable person
would be unable to cope with it. I would recommend consulting with an attorney. Best of luck.
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Construction / Development Lawyer
If your distress was not severe enough for you to seek treatment, what possible damages could you hope to recover? I once attacked a Plaintiff who was a Catholic claiming distress. Not only did he not seek treatment by an MD, he never bothered to go to Mass and pray--not once when Mass is said daily all over LA County at no charge. I do not know your religion, but unless you can also show diligent efforts at spiritual solace I think you have major problems as well on that count.
Patrick provided you with a good answer.
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Employment / Labor Attorney
Juries expect people suffering serious distress to go to a medical doctor, family counselor, spiritual advisor, etc.
Some great trial lawyers can get big damage awards even without medical evidence, but that is an art and it does not happen often.
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