I SAW HER STANDING THERE
249
as of the human condition. The emotional distress for which
monetary damages may be recovered, however, ought not to
be that form of acute emotional distress or the transient emo-
tional reaction to the occasional gruesome or horrible incident
to which every person may potentially be exposed in an in-
dustrial and sometimes violent society. . . . The overwhelming
majority of emotional distress which we endure, therefore, is
not compensable
.
83
In order to avoid overwhelming potential defendants with crippling levels
of liability, three additional limiting factors must be applied as part of the
proximate cause analysis. First, the plaintiff must have an involuntary, con-
temporaneous sensory perception of the incident causing injury to the pri-
mary victim. Second, as in England, there must be a medically-recognized
emotional or psychological harm suffered by the plaintiff. Third, so far as
secondary victims are concerned, that harm must result in the plaintiff’s
suffering economic losses — which, as Diamond suggested, will then be
the only compensable losses for secondary victims. These three factors
would not only prevent the courts from being flooded with an inordinate
volume of cases, but would also provide predictable levels of liability for
defendants.
(i) Involuntary, Contemporaneous Sensory Perception
First, involuntary, contemporaneous sensory perception encompasses what
the plaintiff sees, hears, and smells during the injurious event. This would
require of primary victims that they show that they feared for their own
83
Thing v. La Chusa
,
.
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