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Emotional Distress Physical Impact Cases Summarized

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Emotional Distress Physical Impact and the related topic of personal injury. For more information on emotional distress see the pages on Wikipedia.

Emotional Distress Physical Impact-Cases

2005 Kondaurov v. Kerdasha, 270 Va. 356, 619 S.E.2d 457. 

In this auto accident case, plaintiff claimed emotional distress damages from injury to dog. Plaintiff may not recover for emotional distress suffered because of her concern for her dog’s injuries or because of her concern for the dog’s condition after the injury.

1999 Gray v. INOVA Health Care Servs., 257 Va. 597, 514 S.E.2d 355.

Emotional distress physical impact.Parent who witnesses effects of negligent tactile tort committed upon child in presence of parent does not have cause of action in tort for negligent infliction of emotional distress. In this case, child was given 10 times proper dosage of drugs which caused her to convulse, stop breathing, and turn blue. Mother observed all of this and experienced extreme fright, shock, temporarily blacked out, fell to floor, became physically sick, and vomited. In this case, defendants owed mother no duty as she was not patient upon whom medical tests were being performed. In absence of duty, there can be no negligence.

1993 Howard v. Alexandria Hosp., 245 Va. 346, 429 S.E.2d 22.

Emotional distress physical impact.Plaintiff alleged that as result of defendant’s failure to sterilize instruments during course of surgical procedure, she was forced to undergo subsequent treatment consisting of insertion of intravenous tubes, administration of pain shots, and blood extraction. She experienced physical pain and discomfort of headaches, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and other such symptoms as result of antibiotic therapy necessarily prescribed because of defendant’s negligence. Injury in this case means positive physical or mental hurt to plaintiff. In this case, plaintiff suffered such injury, and as such this was sufficient to satisfy this element of claim in this medical malpractice action.

1973 Hughes v. Moore, 214 Va. 27, 197 S.E.2d 214.

Emotional distress physical impact.Where conduct is merely negligent and there is no physical impact, then there is no recovery for emotional distress alone. Where claim is for emotional distress and physical injury resulting therefrom, then there may be recovery for negligence if there is clear and unbroken causal chain. Absent foreknowledge, there should be no recovery for emotional distress and resulting personal injury to hypersensitive person where normal individual would not be affected under circumstances. Merely witnessing injury to third person will not be basis for recovery. Level of proof is clear and convincing evidence.

1990 Myseros v. Sissler, 239 Va. 8, 387 S.E.2d 463.

Auto accident. No physical impact to plaintiff’s body. To recover under Hughes v. Moore, plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence symptoms or manifestations of physical injury and not merely symptoms or manifestations of underlying emotional distress. All plaintiff proved in this case were typical symptoms of an emotional disturbance.


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Emotional Distress Physical Impact Cases Summarized

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