Negligent infliction of emotional distress has two elements:
- Impact or Physical Manifestation
The impact rule requires some immediate physical injury/impact before the plaintiff can recover. The defendant had a duty to those who would be physically impacted by his action.
The impact rule is the minority rule.
The physical manifestation or physical injury requirement requires the plaintiff to suffer a physical symptom as a result of the distress.
A definite nervous disorder is a physical injury.
The physical manifestation requirement is the majority rule.
The physical manifestation requirement has two well-recognized exceptions:
- Death-telegram rule, in a minority of states
- Negligent interference with dead bodies
A bystander is someone who is:
- is closely related to the injury victim;
- is present at the scene of the injury-producing event at the time it occurs and is then aware that it is causing injury to the victim; and
- as a result suffers serious emotional distress—a reaction beyond that which would be anticipated in a disinterested witness and which is not an abnormal response to the circumstances.