As to what constitutes severe emotional distress, the courts here require that it rise above the level of temporary fright, regret or disappointment. Rather, the plaintiff must be able to show that they suffer from a severe and disabling emotional or mental disorder that mental health professionals generally recognize and diagnose, such as chronic depression, neurosis, psychosis or phobia.
It may not be so easy to file a personal injury lawsuit against a hospital or other health care facility, if what went wrong was limited to the quality of medical treatment you received from a doctor. That’s because in many cases, a physician is not an employee of the hospital, but an independent contractor. So, the hospital may not bear the kind of vicarious liability that typically exists in an employer-employee relationship.