There are dozens of categories of general damages that can result from a Massachusetts (MA) or RI car accident, Premises liability mishap, assault, fall on slippery substance or a motor vehicle wreck. General damages in RI and MA include emotional and psychological distress and harm caused by negligence. RI an MA Personal Injury Damages
These emotional damages can also result from an intentional wrong / tort such as assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress or criminal conduct causing injury. Property damage and damage to a business is beyond the scope of this particular post. The causation of psychological and emotional injuries are less widely understood then the typical injuries that result from an auto accident in Rhode Island such as: whiplash injury, spinal cord injury, herniated disk or shoulder, neck or back injuries.
Past and future physical or emotional pain and suffering
If a case involves allegations that a crash caused mental health problems, it may be necessary to call a psychiatrist or psychologist as a witness to the psychiatric treatment and the causation element. “Rhode Island law clearly requires evidence of relevant, physical symptomatology, albeit under a relaxed standard to support an emotional injury claim. See id; see also Grieco ex rel. Doe v. Napolitano, 813 A.2d 994 (R.I. 2003) (physical manifestations must be sufficient to support an emotional injury claim).” PERROTTI v GONICBERG Providence Superior Court decision
In, Grecio v Napolitano the Rhode Island Supreme Court reasoned that the RI Superior Court trial justice did not make a mistake by applying a liberal standard in requiring physical manifestations of emotional harm.
“The trial justice also referred to several cases in other jurisdictions that have found evidence of sleep and eating disorders, inability to function, and antisocial behavior, as sufficient evidence of physical manifestations of an emotional injury. See Czaplicki v. Gooding Joint School District, 116 Idaho 326, 775 P.2d 640, 646 (1989) (finding that the physical symptoms of severe headaches, occasional suicidal thoughts, sleep disorders, reduced libido, fatigue, stomach pains, and loss of appetite are manifestations of emotional injuries); Vance v. Vance, 286 Md. 490, 408 A.2d 728, 734 (1979) (holding that an inability to sleep, socialize, or function normally were objective manifestations of a mental disorder); First National Bank v. Langley, 314 So.2d 324, 328 (Miss.1975) (finding that severe nightmares may be considered evidence of physical injury). Consequently, the trial justice found by a preponderance of the evidence that Grieco met the threshold level of proof to satisfy a fact-finder that emotional harm causally was connected to defendant’s behavior. We agree with the trial justice that John’s physical manifestations were sufficient to support the emotional injury present in this case.” GRIECO EX REL. DOE v. NAPOLITANO
There are some instances in Rhode Island in which a person who was not physically injured in the pedestrian accident, bicycle crash or automobile accident can still recover for emotional/ psychological harm caused by the crash. Under RI law, the Courts recognize both the torts of negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Negligent Emotional Distress
The Rhode Island Supreme Court, sitting in the Capital City of Providence, in Marchetti v. Parsons, 638 A.2d 1047 (R.I. 1994) set forth the elements of the tort of negligent emotional distress: “a party must (1) be a close relative of the victim, (2) be present at the scene of the accident and be aware that the victim is being injured, and (3) as a result of experiencing the accident, suffer serious emotional injury that is accompanied by physical symptomatology.” Id., 638 A.2d at 1052.
Intentional Infliction of emotional distress
“ To prevail on a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must show extreme and outrageous conduct on the part of the defendant.‟” Jalowy v. Friendly Home, Inc., 818 A.2d 698, 707 (R.I. 2003) (quoting DiBattista v. State, 808 A.2d 1081, 1088 (R.I. 2002)). Although in the first instance, the determination of whether a defendant‟s conduct is so extreme and outrageous so as to permit recovery is a matter of law to be decided by the court, “[w]here reasonable men may differ, it is for the jury, subject to the control of the court, to determine whether, in the particular case, the conduct has been sufficiently extreme and outrageous to result in liability.” Restatement (Second) Torts, § 46 cmt. H” Empire v Bancorp Superior Court 2011 Source
“Under Rhode Island law, a plaintiff must prove four elements to maintain a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress: 1) the conduct must be intentional or done with reckless disregard for the probability of causing emotional distress; 2)the conduct must be extreme and outrageous; 3)there must be a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the emotional distress; and 4)the emotional distress suffered must be severe.” Forest
“Liability is only found where the conduct was so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and be regarded as intolerable in a civilized community. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46 cmt. d at 73 (1965). See Champlin v. Washington Trust Co. of Westerly, 478 A.2d 985, 989 (R.I. 1984)(adopting the standard set forth in Section 46 of the Restatement Second of Torts).” Decision
Loss of consortium
Let’s take a look at the loss of consortium statute in Rhode Island. See 9-1-41 “– (a) A married person is entitled to recover damages for loss of consortium caused by tortious injury to his or her spouse.”
(b) An unemancipated minor is entitled to recover damages for the loss of parental society and companionship caused by tortious injury to his or her parent…..” § 9-1-41 Loss of consortium – Loss of society and companionship.
Disfigurement and Scarring Injuries:
If you are disfigured in a car, bicycle or bike crash it is important that you retain a disfigurement attorney who has experience in representing clients in disfigurement injury cases /claims. A disfigurement could be a laceration, amputation or loss of limb. In some cases a person might be disfigured or a victim of disfigurement as a result of a motor vehicle wreck. Especially in medical malpractice case, loss of enjoyment of life may be a crucial issue.
Some car or bike accidents in Rhode Island or Mass. lead to a scar or scarring. A serious accident, especially a motorcycle accident, bicycle, big rig, bus or pedestrian accident could be disfiguring. This is especially the case if the victim receives a blow to the head and a traumatic head injury TBI or brain injury. A work related, industrial accident, construction accident, product liability mishap or work injury could cause nerve damage, a severed hand or loss of motor function If you were injured in a Rhode Island Motor Vehicle collision, pedestrian accident or trucking crash, please contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Rhode Island or a RI Car Accident Lawyer.