Indiana Supreme Court Expands Rights for Emotional Distress

The Indiana Supreme Court recently expanded the rights of parents to bring claims for their own emotional distress in situations involving the abuse of their child.  In K.G., et al. v. Smith, et al., the Indiana Supreme Court held that a mother could bring claims for emotional distress relating to the revelation that her physically and emotionally handicapped child had been sexually abused by a caretaker several years after the abuse occurred.  This is an expansion of Indiana’s prior law regarding claims for emotional distress experienced by a person who did not directly suffer the harm or abuse or observe the aftermath shortly thereafter.

The new rule: when a caretaker assumes responsibly for a child, and when that caretaker owes a duty of care to the child’s parent or guardian, a claim against the caretaker for the negligent infliction of emotional distress may proceed when the parent or guardian later discovers, with irrefutable certainty, that the caretaker sexually abused that child and when that abuse severely impacted the parent or guardian’s emotional health.

A link to the Court’s decision is here.  If yourself, a family member, or friend has been abused by a caretaker and have questions, please give me a call.

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