This Comment examines the route taken by the Supreme Court of Washington to afford plaintiffs their day in court while potentially forcing certain tortfeasors to pay for plaintiffs' emotional distress claims. This Comment will also examine the framework that claimants and Washington courts need for evaluating a bystander's claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress. The framework should be free of artificial, vague, and inconsistent rules, and should allow plaintiffs to recover for negligently inflicted severe emotional distress while protecting tortfeasors from spurious claims, including claims concerning minor psychic and emotional shocks, and from liability disproportionate to culpability. Moreover, the "societal benefits of certainty in the law, as well as traditional concepts of tort law, dictate the certain limitation of bystander recovery of damages for emotional distress."
Patrick F.X. Santel, Bystanders' Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims in Washington State: Must You Be Present to Win?, 23 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 769 (2000).