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Emotional Distress, Privacy, and Dignitary Torts

Sometimes injuries can be emotional or mental, and are not immediately apparent. If another person is the reason for your emotional injury, you might be able to sue that person for the injury he or she caused you. You can also sue another person if he or she acts in a manner that's an invasion of your privacy. Both invasion of privacy and emotional distress claims have high hurdles a plaintiff must clear in order to be successful in his or her case. FindLaw's Emotional Distress, Privacy, and Dignitary Torts section provides information about the elements you'll need to prove in order to prevail in a lawsuit for invasion of privacy or intentional infliction of emotional distress. In this section, you can also find an attorney intake form for an invasion of privacy case so that you can know what to expect and be prepared for meeting with an attorney.

Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy is the intrusion into the personal life of another person without consent. However, invasion of privacy is not the cause of action or tort that you would sue another person. The four most common types of invasion of privacy causes of action are: appropriation of name or likeness, intrusion upon seclusion, false light, or public disclosure of private facts.

An invasion of privacy can include more than the name suggests. It can include the use or misuse of your personal information or identity. For example, using a person's name or likeness, such as a photo or cartoon of the person, without consent, constitutes a type of invasion of privacy.

States vary on which causes of action they recognize under the theory of invasion of privacy. States also have their own elements for each cause of action. For these reasons, it's important to check your state's laws or consult with a local attorney before filing a lawsuit.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

We live in a society of people with different personalities and sensitivities. What's offensive to one person might not be offensive to someone else. It's also unreasonable for people to expect to never have to deal with a certain level of rude or offensive conduct. But, if someone's conduct is so terrible and causes emotional trauma, it's possible to have a valid case against him or her.

Each state has its own rules for what constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, the elements are generally defined as extreme or outrageous conduct that intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress. If theses elements are proven, a person can recover for the emotional distress and any bodily harm that resulted from the emotional stress.

There are also certain circumstances in which a person can recover for emotional distress even if the outrageous or extreme conduct wasn't directed at him or her. In order to recover under this type of situation, more elements than the standard definition of intentional infliction of emotional distress must be proven. For example, if an individual directs extreme or outrageous conduct at an immediate family member of the plaintiff and the plaintiff witnesses the conduct, he or she could have an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against the actor.

Hiring a Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered an invasion of privacy or emotional distress because of the conduct of another person, you may want to contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Learn About Emotional Distress and Privacy