In Strickland v. Hodges, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that there is no independent right of action in a parent for emotional harm suffered upon witnessing the extent of the injury his child has sustained as a result of a defendant's wilful and wanton negligence. An eleven year old girl suffered serious injuries arising out of a collision between the automobile in which she was riding and an automobile negligently operated by the defendant while admittedly under the influence of intoxicants. Although the child's parents were not present at the time of the accident, they became aware of their daughter's condition shortly afterwards. Thereafter, the parents brought an independent action against the defendant seeking recovery for emotional distress and mental suffering. In granting defendant's motion for partial summary judgment, the trial court struck from a three-count complaint those two counts which sought damages based upon great emotional distress. Strictly adhering to Georgia's endorsement of the "impact rule," the court of appeals affirmed, rejecting plaintiffs' contention that this doctrine should not be applied to such a novel factual setting based on wilfulness and wantonness.
Miller, Wallace III
"Torts--Emotional Distress--Georgia Continues to Cling to the Impact Rule,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 27:
1, Article 28.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol27/iss1/28