A deeply emotional trauma that a person intentionally or carelessly inflicts on another individual is referred to as the Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).
According to the Columbia Law Review, proving IIED rests on four key elements:
- The defendant acted either intentionally or recklessly.
- The defendant’s conduct classifies as extreme and outrageous.
- The defendant’s action, conduct, or omission caused emotional distress.
- The plaintiff suffered acute emotional distress as a result of the defendant’s extreme and outrageous conduct.
Cases of IIED may play a part in a medical malpractice case or personal injury lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice is the Result of Negligence
After a medical error, physical injuries and illness can affect both the patient and their family. Sometimes, the resulting emotional trauma creates equal or even greater losses.
For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in a patient, they could miss the chance to receive chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation that may have greatly improved their survival rate. One can only imagine the patient’s outrage, despair, anger, and grief after discovering this terrible act of medical negligence.
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Medical Professionals Cannot Violate Their Standard of Care
Doctors have an obligation to prevent harm to the patients in their care, including the trauma caused by emotional distress.
Since many medical malpractice lawsuits involve several liable parties, other medical professionals who may share accountability may include:
- Radiologists and radiological technicians.
- Specialists, such as oncologists or cardiologists.
- Registered nurses.
- Physicians’ assistants.
Medical facilities can also share liability for intentional infliction of emotional distress. For example, a diagnostic lab that mixes up test results between two patients may afflict psychological harm to both parties.
Hospitals, surgical centers, walk-in clinics, nursing homes, and private medical practices may also shoulder responsibility for contributing or causing emotional distress.
Understanding “Extreme” and “Outrageous” Conduct
A lawyer seeking damages for a client for IIED has an obligation to show how the defendant’s conduct was extreme and inflicted emotional distress by outrageous conduct.
Some of the evidence that a lawyer may use to prove this emotional distress may include:
- Relevant case law.
- Expert testimony from mental health professionals.
- Testimony from the plaintiff’s family or close circle of friends on the impact of this trauma.
- Plaintiff’s own account of how this emotional distress has drastically and negatively affected their life.
- Documentation and evidence, such as medical records, test results, and consultation notes.
The court may examine this evidence. It may also consider if another person in the same situation would consider the defendant’s conduct outrageous and extreme.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases That May Include Emotional Distress
Medical malpractice refers to a situation in which a doctor or other healthcare professional deviates from accepted medical practices. If another doctor with a similar background and with a similar patient condition would have correctly treated their affliction, you may successfully prove the defendant’s negligence.
Medical malpractice cases that may allow for recovery for IIED include:
- Missed diagnosis.
- Delayed diagnosis.
- Failure to treat.
- Surgical errors.
- Diagnostic testing errors.
- Childbirth injuries.
- Prescription drug errors.
- Anesthesia-related errors.
- Defective medical device.
You may have difficulty identifying exactly which medical professional caused your emotional trauma. A legal professional with a nuanced understanding of medical malpractice law can be a valuable resource.
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Recovering Damages for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Financial recovery for emotional distress may extend to a variety of losses, including:
- Mental anguish.
- Pain and suffering.
- Diminished quality of life.
- Inability to work.
- Acts or thoughts of self-harm or attempted suicide.
- Loss of consortium.
- Counseling, therapy, and rehabilitation.
You do not need to suffer emotional trauma in silence. Legal representation may help you recover from IIED caused by a medical professional’s poor judgment.
When to Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Most states have a statute of limitations on medical malpractice and related matters. Depending on where you live may affect this timeframe. For example, if you live in Florida, you generally have two years from the date that you experienced injuries to file a civil action. You can call a medical malpractice lawyer to find out more about your legal options.
In some cases, the defendant will settle out of court rather than face the negative publicity of a trial that may impact their career.
Call Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Ben Crump Law, PLLC wants to help injured men and women recover compensation and justice. Medical malpractice is inexcusable, and those found violating their duty of care should be held responsible for their actions. When we take on your case, we do not ask for any upfront fees or payments. We take our wages from any compensation we collect for you. We do not shy away from tough cases. Call 800-641-8998 for your free, no-obligation consultation.