Legal Question in Personal Injury in Kansas

infliction of emotional distress

Can a parent claim intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress for an injury to his/her child if he/she did not witness the accident? Kansas law only please, also what source would you get this information from?

Asked on 4/30/00, 3:47 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Alvin Lundgren Alvin R. Lundgren, L.C.

Re: infliction of emotional distress

The law of torts governs your request. This is not statutory law but is derived from common law or the law resulting out of court cases. The law states that in order to collect for negligent or intentional emotional distress arising from the injury to a child, that the parent must at a minimum be present and witness the injury. The rationale for this result comes from the need to have a limit on the potential liability of the tortfeasor (the person causing the injury). The law states that at some point in time that the resulting injuries are just to far in terms of time and/or distance to be reasonably foreseeable. Thus in your case, assume that your child was injured at your home. But you were at work 20 miles away and did not learn of the injury for 2 hours. The courts state that in order for you to be damaged you would have had to have witnessed the injury AND have suffered severe shock and emotional distress. A telephone call does not provide the same shock and emotional distress as actually seeing the event.

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Answered on 6/14/00, 11:55 am

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