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Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

The negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is a cause of action under Kentucky personal injury law. It’s raised when the carelessness and negligence of a person is alleged to have caused emotional harm to another person.

Contact or No Contact?

For generations, Kentucky courts required some type of physical contact between the parties in order to sustain a case of NIED. They went to far as to recognize “Slight, trifling or trivial” contact like x-rays penetrating the skin as sufficient contact so as to overcome a dispositive motion based on the contact requirement of NIED. Courts in Kentucky had long persisted in the contact rule in the belief that the absence of a physical contact requirement would “promote fraud the presentation of claim for injuries beyond the capacity of juries to properly assess.” In Osborne vs. Keeney, 399 S.W.3d 1, the Kentucky Supreme Court abolished the contact rule in NIED cases. It added additional requirements to bringing an NIESD case though. The court held that only severe claims of NIED affecting the alleged victim’s daily life or requiring significant treatment can be considered. On top of that, the claim must be supported by medical or scientific evidence.

Bystanders as Opposed to Victims

NIED cases are generally brought by bystanders rather than victims of actual and objective personal injuries. Factors that need to be considered in these types of cases follow:

  • Whether NIED was foreseeable under the circumstances.
  • Whether the person claiming NIED was positioned near the scene of a distressing occurrence, and not some distance away.
  • Was the emotional distress the result of observation of the occurrence at the same time that it happened, as opposed to learning about it from others after it happened?
  • Was the person alleging NIED closely related to the accident victim?

If a person claiming NIED can answer the above questions in the affirmative, a viable NIED case might exist. Injuries suffered in any NIED case are going to be subjective. There is no physical scarring, and there isn’t any physical disability either. To support an NIED claim, the injuries and damages allegedly suffered by the victim must be proved by either one or more expert witnesses or qualified health care providers. If you believe that you were the victim of negligent infliction of emotional distress, your condition might be compensable. Contact us here at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and we can arrange for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer from our law firm. You can talk about what happened and how it affected you. Your questions are going to be answered, and you’ll be advised of any legal options that might be available to you. Kentucky has a one-year statute of limitations on any case involving negligence, so contact us as soon as you can.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Kentucky

Do you have more questions about negligence per se in Kentucky? Speak to a member of legal team today to learn more about our state’s accident laws. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, do not wait another minute, call us right now at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC at (502) 458-5555 to discuss your case and get the help you deserve.



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