Just about everyone knows that you can sue someone for damages if they physically injure you through misconduct–by slamming into your car after ignoring a red light, for example. 

Some people realize that you can also sue someone for deliberately causing you severe emotional distress, even if you weren’t injured. A cruel prankster might call you, posing as the county coroner, and falsely tell you that your family member died in a car accident, for instance.

Not so many people realize, however, that you can sue someone for negligently causing you severe emotional distress. Such lawsuits, however, are common in Nevada and certain other states.

Elements of the Claim

In Nevada, negligent infliction of emotional distress consists of four legal elements (facts you have to prove to win). These elements are:

  • Duty of Care: Almost everyone has a duty to act reasonably to prevent others from experiencing severe emotional distress. It’s not just ‘common decency’–it’s the law. 
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant must have breached their duty of care in some way. Once they breach their duty of care, they are negligent. Negligence alone is not enough to support liability, however,
  • Severe Emotional Distress: The victim must have suffered emotional distress, and the emotional distress must have been severe. Normally, there must be evidence corroborating the severity of their distress—such as a physical reaction. There is also a ‘zone of danger rule’ that allows a victim to recover if they legitimately fear for their own physical safety.
  • Causation: The defendant’s negligence must have caused the victim’s emotional distress. That means that absent the defendant’s negligence, the victim would not have suffered distress. The distress must have also been a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligence.

Suing for emotional distress in Nevada requires you to prove all of these elements using the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ (the 51% likelihood) rule to meet the burden of proof. Once you do that much, you have proven liability, and you qualify for damages.

Examples of Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Following are some common examples of the kinds of emotional distress that might qualify the victim to file a lawsuit:

  1. Witnessing a tragic accident: Nevada recognizes NIED claims for bystanders who witness a traumatic event involving a family member.
  2. Incorrectly informing a patient that they have a terminal illness or mishandling a corpse could lead to NIED claims in Nevada if you can demonstrate that it resulted in severe emotional distress.
  3. Mistakenly announcing someone‘s death to their loved one could constitute NIED if the distress is severe and if it is the direct result of the misinformation.
  4. A breach of privacy, such as the negligent handling of sensitive medical information.
  5. A landlord negligently fails to remedy a known safety hazard, and a tenant suffers severe emotional distress due to a legitimate fear of imminent harm.

The severity of the distress and its direct relationship to the defendant’s misconduct is crucial for establishing an NIED claim.

What if You Plan To Settle Out of Court?

Since all bargaining takes place “in the shadow of the law,” the dynamics of an NIED claim shouldn’t change dramatically, whether you resolve it in or out of court. At the settlement table, your job will be to try to guess how a judge would look at your claim, and you should bargain based on that assumption.

It the defendant refuses to settle, you can file a lawsuit, gather evidence through the pretrial discovery process, return to the bargaining table, and then agree to drop your lawsuit in exchange for a more generous settlement.

The Assistance of a Personal Injury Attorney Is Probably a Necessity

Suing for emotional distress in Nevada isn’t easy without a physical injury to point to. Suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress might be even more difficult than suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress (which isn’t easy). 

Nevertheless, people win these claims every day.

Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Las Vegas and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

Battle Born Injury Lawyers
400 S 4th St Suite 290,
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 357-4868

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Las Vegas Office
10789 W Twain Ave #100
Las Vegas, NV 89135
(702) 570-9000

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Reno Office
675 W Moana Ln #206
Reno, NV 89509, USA
(775) 535-7768

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Henderson Office
8540 S Eastern Ave #200
Henderson, NV 89123
(702) 500-0287