A number of U.S. states recognize something called intentional infliction
of emotional distress. This tort provides a financial remedy to someone
who suffered due to the egregious behavior of another individual. While
Maryland recognizes the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress,
it not necessarily easy to prove. If you think you have a claim that fits
the elements of this type of claim, you should retain a skilled
Maryland personal injury attorney like the Law Offices of Robert Castro.
Elements of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
There are four basic elements that you must prove in order to make a successful
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. These are:
- The other party’s conduct was reckless or intentional
- The other party’s behavior was outrageous and extreme
- The other party caused your emotional distress
- You can prove you suffered severe emotional distress
In order to prove the defendant’s behavior was reckless or intentional,
you have to show the other party intended to cause you harm and was certain,
or substantially certain, that you would suffer emotional distress from
his or her behavior. This type of emotional distress would result in documented
severe depression, sleeplessness, physical injuries, and more.
For a court to find that the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and
extreme, it has to extend beyond the bounds of normal decency. This is
behavior that is atrocious and utterly shocking to a reasonable person. In
Hamilton v. Ford Motor Co., 502 A.2d 1057, 1064 (Md. 1986), the court said the emotional stress
must “completely violate human dignity.”
Examples of intentional infliction of emotional distress do not necessarily
fit a certain profile. What causes severe emotional distress in one individual
may not have the same effect on another. One of the most recognizable
actions that could fall under this tort deals with cyberbullying. Cyberbullying
is a common problem that has led to serious mental and physical health
problems in some individuals. In extreme cases, some people have even
committed suicide as they could not handle the abuse. Cyberbullying can
leave lasting physical and emotional scars.
Some recognizable elements of cyberbullying include:
- Purposefully embarrassing others repeatedly
- Physical threats
- Sexual harassment
It is believed that a
majority of individuals have been harassed online at some point in their lives. Maybe a harsh comment on an article you
wrote, or from another user on a social media network or forum. However,
to qualify under the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress,
it has to extend beyond a rude one-off comment.
Does Maryland Recognize Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
No, the state of Maryland does not recognize negligent infliction of emotional
distress claims, which are relatively common in many other states. With
negligent infliction of emotional distress claims, symptoms only need
to be observable, but they do not need to be severe.
Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
If you have a claim that you think qualifies as intentional infliction
of emotional distress, contact the Law Offices of Robert Castro. These
types of torts could potentially lead to serious consequences, especially
if a minor is involved. Call our office or
use the contact us form to schedule a consultation and let us help determine if you have a cause of action for intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
This article has been provided by Law Office of Robert Castro. For more
information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced
lawyer at (301)870-1200.
Law Office of Robert Castro.
2670 Crain Highway #411, Waldorf, MD 20601. (301) 870-1200.