Picture this: You are walking toward the bus stop where you pick up your child every day. You see the bus approach so you step out of your vehicle so that you can greet your child. Moments later, a crash occurs before your eyes. You realize there is a lifeless body lying on the pavement and as you look closer, you realize it is your child lying there.
A bystander (plaintiff) may recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) where the defendant was negligent, defendant’s negligence was the cause of injury or death to the victim, and where the plaintiff (bystander) was the spouse, child, or parent of the victim, plaintiff was present at the scene of the accident at the time it occurred, plaintiff was aware that such event or accident caused the injury to the victim and as a result, plaintiff suffered emotional distress. In the above-mentioned scenario, you would be entitled to recover from the at fault driver involved.
But suppose you don’t meet the requirements of NIED but you have suffered injury due to another’s negligence. Suppose the last thing you remember was you were driving on the freeway behind a large truck carrying tree trunks, next thing you know, you’re waking up in a hospital. The doctor informs you that one of the tree trunks came loose from the truck and crashed through your windshield; you were knocked unconscious from the accident. You are entitled to recover damages including your medical bills based on the legal theory of negligence. In order to recover, the plaintiff must show: a duty owed to her, a breach of that duty, causation that links the defendant’s negligence to the plaintiff’s injury and damages resulting from defendant’s negligence. As a truck driver, the defendant owes a duty of care to other drivers on the roadways. He breached that duty by failing to secure the tree trunks properly on his truck. The company he works for may also be liable for negligence in participating in loading the tree trunks or failing to supervise the loading of tree trunks onto the truck. The plaintiff suffered injury from the tree trunk that fell of the defendant’s trunk; therefore, there is causation and damages present.
There are many variations of negligence that allow for recovery. You may have experienced one of the above-mentioned scenarios or one that is very similar to the examples listed above. If you have suffered injury due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to recovery from the negligent party. Don’t sleep on your legal rights; contact Daniel Selwa today to set up a free consultation.