While recognizing that the plaintiff still did not choose to have the pri-
mary victim suffer a gruesome injury, there remains the public policy be-
hind awards of compensation in negligence, which is designed to award
damages only to plaintiffs who did not invite such injury upon themselves.
The harm suffered is real, but there “must be some level of harm which
one should absorb without recompense as the price he pays for living in
an organized society.
If compensation were allowed under these “called-
to-scene” circumstances, than every negligently harmed plaintiff’s family
member could support a cause of action against the original tortfeasor
simply by rushing to the hospital and viewing the victim. The goal of tort
compensation is — and should be — to award damages for harm that was
unfair and uninvited upon the plaintiff, and not reward those whose acts
effectively sought out such injury.
(ii) Medically-Recognized Harm
The next requirement that Florida should adopt as part of its law on NIED
is that a plaintiff should not be eligible for compensation merely for being
“traumatized” or for suffering some generic sadness about the accident in
question. Instead cases of pure emotional distress in Florida should follow
the English approach and only allow recovery from a plaintiff who com-
plained of a diagnosable mental injury. As was recognized in the California
case of
Thing v. La Chusa
only serious emotional distress should be
compensable. Once again, we need to recognize that there “must be some
level of harm which one should absorb without recompense as the price he
Champion v. Gray
Stewart v. Gilliam
(Reed, J. dissenting).
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