In December of 2012, the Supreme Court of Kentucky decided a case that had to do with emotional distress and whether a physical touching was first needed in order to be able to make a claim for damages. (See Osborne v. Keeney, 399 S.W.3d. 1 (Ky. 2012)). The underlying case had to deal with a legal malpractice case where the plaintiff claims his attorney failed to timely file a lawsuit within the applicable limitations period for a negligence claim against a pilot who crashed his plane into the plaintiff’s home. The jury awarded the plaintiff $5 million against his attorney. This is the appeal that followed. Plaintiff’s Kentucky emotional distress lawyer did a very good job on this issue.
The plaintiff in this Kentucky emotional distress case did not suffer any physical injury as a result of the airplane crash. Id. After the Kentucky airplane crash, the plaintiff was taken to a hospital and treated. She continued to receive treatment for an extended period of time. Id. She was in shock over the accident and emotionally unstable as a result of the destruction of her home and her personal belongings. Id.
Prior to this case, the law in Kentucky with regard to emotional distress was that “an action will not lie for fright, shock, or mental anguish which is unaccompanied by physical contact or injury.” (cites omitted). This was known as the impact rule. Id. Approximately forty jurisdictions have either rejected the impact rule or abandoned it. id. The Kentucky emotional distress lawyer in this case was setting new precedence for all future emotional distress cases in Kentucky.
The Court has determined that in order to prevail in this type of negligence case when seeking emotional distress, the plaintiff must satisfy the common law negligence elements which are 1) the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, 2) breach of that duty, 3) injury to the plaintiff, and 4) legal causation between the defendant’s breach and the plaintiff’s injury.” (cites omitted). The Court went on to say that it agreed with its sister jurisdiction, Tennessee, that “recovery should be provided only for “severe” or “serious” emotional injury.” (cites omitted). “Distress that does not significantly affect the plaintiffs everyday life or require significant treatment will not suffice.” Id. And a plaintiff claiming emotional distress damages must present expert medical or scientific proof to support the claimed injury or impairment. Id.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky emotional distress case, please call and speak to a Kentucky emotional distress lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!