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Friday, March 6, 2015

What Does a NJ Plaintiff Need to Prove in a Claim for Emotional Distress?

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.

To recover, for emotional distress in NJ a plaintiff must establish the following elements:

First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. For an intentional act to result in liability, the defendant must intend both to do the act and to produce emotional distress. For a reckless act to result in liability, a defendant must act in deliberate disregard of a high degree of probability that emotional distress will follow.

Second, the defendant’s conduct must be extreme and outrageous. The conduct must be so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. The liability clearly does not extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions or other trivialities.

Third, the defendant’s actions must have been the proximate cause of plaintiff’s emotional distress.

Fourth, the emotional distress suffered by plaintiff must be so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure such distress. Defendant’s conduct must be sufficiently severe to cause genuine and substantial emotional distress or mental harm to the average person. This average person must be one similarly situated to the plaintiff. The plaintiff cannot recover for his/her emotional distress if that emotional distress would not have been experienced by an average person.

Generally speaking, claims for emotional distress can be difficult to prove. Whether you are a plaintiff or defendant in a law suit involving claims of infliction of emotional distress you should retain an attorney to assist you.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico and affiliated offices throughout the country.

© 2010-2015, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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