It is commonly understood that when a person or organization causes a physical injury to another, through negligence, that the injured party may recover for his or her injuries. The injured party must show that the Defendant owed a duty to him or her and that by breaching this duty, the injured party was caused to sustain damages. In a traditional case, the damages aspect of negligence can be shown through medical records, bills, photographs, or other tangible, documentary evidence. However, when the complained of harm is intangible such as emotional harm or injury- there is a different cause of action that an aggrieved party can utilize to be compensated- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
The court has articulated a four prong test in order for a person to successfully recover under the theory of intentional infliction of emotional distress. In Agis v. Howard Johnson Co., the court held that a plaintiff must show:
that the defendant intended to inflict emotional distress or that he knew, or should have known, that emotional distress was the likely result of his conduct;
that the defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous, beyond all possible bounds of decency, and was utterly intolerable in a civilized community;
that the actions of the defendant were the cause of the plaintiff’s distress; and
that the emotional distress sustained by the plaintiff was severe and of a nature that no reasonable man could be expected to endure it.