By: Michael Rose
In New York, a person may be able to recover damages for witnessing an accident involving an immediate family member. This is called the “zone-of-danger” rule. It allows a person threatened with bodily harm but not injured to recover from emotional distress from viewing the death or serious injury of his/her immediate family arising from the same incident.
Zone of Danger Damages Recoverable if You Suffered Emotional Trauma
Zone of Danger damages are recoverable in New York when you show that there was a possibility that you could have been involved in the accident along with your loved one. You must prove that you suffered a physical or emotional trauma from witnessing the accident.
Second, you must show that you were simultaneously aware of an immediate family member’s death or serious injury. As the Court of Appeals explained in Bovson v. Sanperi, the plaintiff’s wife, daughter, and son knew that he was involved in a car accident when it happened. Although they did not see it, they could hear and feel the accident and the impact on the car where their father was seated.
Third, the injured person must be an immediate family member. That means a father, son, daughter, mother, brother, or sister to have a Zone of Danger claim. No other familial relationships are recognized under New York law.
Our Record of Recovering Zone of Danger Awards
Hach & Rose, LLP recently settled a case for the wrongful death of a construction worker’s son. In that case, the defendant recklessly and negligently allowed the victim to operate construction equipment on the premises. That led to the unfortunate death of the young adolescent.
We were able to collect monetary compensation for the pain and suffering of the child. Our firm also recovered damages for the mental anguish the accident caused the child’s father because he was in the “zone of danger” at the time of his child’s horrific accident. We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside the box. Using state-of-the-art research tactics, we pursue every possible claim to recover maximum compensation for our clients. While money can never replace the loss of a loved one, the result of our hard work and dedication provides our clients and their families with financial security for years to come.