Mental distress situations occur throughout the field of torts in cases ranging from assault and trespass to seduction, false arrest, slander, malicious prosecution, and others. They occur in intentional and unintentional situations, and in cases where there is willful and wanton negligence. There may be mental distress over one's own predicament or over fear for the safety of a third party. Physical injuries may or may not result from the mental distress and the element of "impact" (contemporaneous physical injury) becomes an additional factor to consider. However, when it comes to the question of recovery for either mental distress alone or physical injuries resulting therefrom, in cases of negligence, the law is still unsettled. This note will focus on the mental distress situation where a recovery is sought for injuries resulting from fright without "impact" (contemporaneous physical injury).
Larry Grean, Injuries from Fright without Contact, 15 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 331 (1966)