What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is when a victim suffers a severe emotional trauma by another individual in society. Some of the key phrases associated with intentional infliction of emotional distress, or IIED, are ‘outrageous’ and ‘extreme’. Not all offensive terms are considered outrageous or extreme. Unfortunately, in today’s society, we as individuals have to deal with some form of rude or relatively offensive conduct.

What Makes Up an Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim?

So what exactly will result in an IIED claim? First, there are three elements or factors that must be proven in order to have a claim: (1) the conduct must be ‘extreme’ and ‘outrageous’, (2) the conduct must be intentional, (3) the conduct must cause severe emotional distress. In order for the conduct to be considered extreme and outrageous, it must be considered appalling and go beyond all bounds of decency in a civilized community. This is a very high threshold to be proven in a court of law; however, here are some examples of where IIED was found. An employer sexually harasses an employee and threatens to disclose fabricated information about a sexual experience they had to others in the office. The employee may be able to recover for IIED. Next, an individual tells someone else that their spouse has been killed in a car accident, when in fact they have no knowledge about the individuals spouse and whether they were in an accident or not. Potentially, this could lead to a recovery for IIED.

What Am I Entitled to Recover?

So what can be recovered from an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim? Once again, IIED claims are tough to prove, but if an individual can prove a claim, they can recover pain and suffering. One of the main effects of IIED is emotional trauma. So, additionally, an individual might be able to recover damages for the harm suffered. This means the victim, if they had to seek medical help, could be able to recover the costs of the medical help and/or psychological treatment.