What Is “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress”?

Can You Sue for Psychological Damages and Mental Anguish in Florida?

Recovering compensation for emotional distress in Florida is complicated. To receive compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must show that the other party’s conduct was “outrageous and extreme.” Proving the elements of intentional infliction of emotional distress can be challenging and generally requires the help of a highly-qualified personal injury trial lawyer.

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we represent individuals who suffer harm as a result of another person’s wrongful or reckless conduct. We fight hard to maximize damages, ensuring that our clients receive the largest recovery possible for their injuries. 

If you believe that you have suffered mental anguish due to another person’s conduct, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation. 

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress v. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Florida courts have been cautious about allowing recovery based solely on emotional distress. Florida law provides for two types of claims for infliction of emotional distress: negligent or intentional. The differences are explained below.

To recover under the theory of negligent infliction of emotional distress, the court relies on the “impact rule.” A plaintiff must show that there was some sort of physical impact or discernible physical manifestation of emotional distress because of a defendant’s negligent actions. Insomnia is an example of a physical manifestation of emotional distress.

In the most general terms, to recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must show:

  1. That the defendant’s conduct was “outrageous and extreme”;
  2. That the defendant’s conduct was intentional or reckless;
  3. That it caused emotional distress to the plaintiff; and
  4. That the emotional distress was severe.

Courts evolve their definitions for each of the elements. It is always recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney if you would like to pursue a claim based on intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

What is Outrageous and Extreme Conduct?

According to Florida courts, not all conduct that results in physical harm to another person is considered outrageous or extreme. It is not enough that the behavior was insulting or hurt the plaintiff’s feelings, or even that the conduct was criminal; it must be egregious.

To determine whether a defendant’s conduct was sufficiently “extreme and outrageous,” previous cases have defined it as:

  • Heartless or flagrant;
  • Atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society;
  • Beyond all bounds of decency.

Proving Your Case

Proving an IIED case can be particularly difficult if there is no additional harm beyond the outrageous conduct itself; however, physical injury is not required to recover damages. In the case of negligent infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must show physical impact or discernible physical injury or manifestation of injury. 

In order to recover compensation for emotional distress, it is imperative that you consult an attorney who knows Florida law and can help you navigate the murky waters of recovery for mental anguish.

Contact Mase Mebane Seitz for a Free Consultation

If you have suffered psychological damages as a result of another person’s negligent, intentional, or reckless conduct, contact our office for a free consultation. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We give each case the personalized care and attention it deserves.

Call (844) 627-3529 to get started. We can help you understand your rights and chances at recovery.