Supreme Court of New Jersey - 45 N.J. 559
The legal case involves whether a plaintiff can recover damages for physical injury resulting from fear caused by a negligent defendant, even if there was no physical impact. The Law Division granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment, citing the existing New Jersey rule that a physical impact on the plaintiff is necessary to sustain a negligence action. However, recent medical evidence has shown that physical injuries can result from fright in a person of normal health. Therefore, the issue of causation should be determined by medical evidence, rather than decided as a matter of law. Recovery is allowed for physical injury with any impact, however slight, and where physical suffering resulted from a willfully caused emotional disturbance. The court and jury should weed out dishonest claims, but the difficulty of proof should not prevent the plaintiff from attempting to convince the trier of fact of the truth of their claim. The no impact rule is not effective in preventing fraudulent claims.
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