Brief Fact Summary.
Bosley (plaintiff) sued Andrews (defendant) for negligence.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Generally, in tort law, a plaintiff cannot recover damages for physical injuries that manifest themselves based on an emotional injury.
The defendant owned a herd of cattle and those cattle proceeded to stray onto the plaintiff’s land, crushing her crops. At one point, one of the bulls charged at the plaintiff and stopped about 25 feet away. The bull never actually made physical contact with the plaintiff but the plaintiff was so scared that she suffered a coronary insufficiency and collapsed to the ground. Plaintiff sued, alleging negligence, but the trial court held she was unable to establish a right to relief.
Whether in tort law, a plaintiff can recover damages for physical injuries that manifest themselves based on an emotional injury.
No. In tort law, a plaintiff cannot recover damages for physical injuries that manifest themselves based on an emotional injury.
Our conclusion is that where it is proven that negligence proximately caused fright or shock in one who is within the range of ordinary physical danger from that negligence, and this in turn produced injuries such as would be elements of damage had a bodily injury been suffered, the injured party is entitled to recover.View Full Point of Law
For a plaintiff to recover damages for an emotional injury they must also suffer from some sort of physical injury as well. While it is not required that the physical injuries stem from the emotional injuries, both are still required to recover damages. Here, the plaintiff was never actually physically touched by the bull nor did she suffer any physical injury. Her injury, the coronary insufficiency, was not coupled with any physical touching.