New Jersey courts have recognized a claim of negligent inflection of emotional distress (“NIED”) for people who witness an injury to a family member, caused by the negligence of a third party. The elements to establish a NIED claim are:
- The death or serious physical injury of another caused by defendant's negligence;
- A marital or intimate, familial relationship between plaintiff and the injured person;
- Observation of the death or injury at the scene of the accident; and
- Resulting severe emotional distress.
In a recent unpublished Appellate Division decision, Moreland v. Parks, a mother and her same-sex partner brought action against a third party after the mother's child was hit and killed while walking in an intersection. They sought to recover, in part, based upon a bystander NIED claim. One of the issues in the case concerned whether the same-sex partner, who was not the child's mother, could recover under a NIED claim.
A question presented to the Court was whether or not a same-sex partner had “a marital or intimate, familiar relationship” with the injured person. While the Court recognized that whether a cohabiting same-sex partner could potentially constitute a “familial relationship,” the Court nonetheless indicated that this is a fact sensitive analysis to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Court concluded that there was essentially a fact issue as to whether a same-sex partner could establish an “intimate family relationship” which is ‘stable, enduring, substantial, and mutually supportive,” i.e. “one that is cemented by strong emotional bonds and provides a deep and pervasive emotional security.”
Should you or a loved one find yourself in this position, please speak to an attorney at Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis, & Cohen. We can competently answer any personal injury question you may have and work to insure your interests are protected.
There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.
Leave a Comment