Select your state

Personal injury

neglient infliction emotional distress

Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is a personal injury claim, cause of action, or tort (wrongful act) that is recognized in some states. NIED claims seek to hold another person or entity civilly liable (for money damages) caused by careless or negligent conduct that causes mental or emotional damage (severe emotional distress) to the injured claimant or plaintiff.

Some states that recognize an NIED claim have additional requirements that the claimant or plaintiff suffered a physical injury or was “in the zone of danger” created by the negligent conduct, for example.

And in many states there is no recognized cause of action or claim for the negligent infliction of emotional distress, and no general duty not to negligently inflict emotional distress. A claimant may recover mental anguish damages only in connection with defendant's breach of some other legal duty.

But some states, such as California, recognize an NIED claim by a direct victim as well as for a bystander who observed the negligent infliction of emotional distress. A bystander claim is often limited to close relatives of the direct victim.

Laws vary from state to state and the law regarding the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress is often located in a state’s court opinions (also known as case law, common law, or judicial decisions).

In Texas, the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is recognized, but it is limited by stringent requirements. Texas law generally requires that for a plaintiff to recover damages for NIED, they must have been involved in, or witnessed, a traumatic event and also suffered a physical injury as a result of the defendant's negligent conduct. This is often referred to as the 'physical manifestation rule.' Additionally, Texas recognizes the 'zone of danger' rule, which allows recovery for emotional distress if the plaintiff was in a zone of danger of physical impact and feared for their own safety. Bystander claims for NIED are also recognized in Texas, but they are limited to situations where the bystander closely related to the injury victim witnesses an accident and suffers emotional distress as a result. The bystander must have been at the scene of the accident and have had a high degree of emotional distress that is reasonably foreseeable to the defendant. It is important to note that the specifics of NIED claims can be complex and may require the interpretation of case law, as Texas does not have a specific statute that outlines the elements of an NIED claim.

Legal articles related to this topic