Suffering an injury as a result of seeing a family member get injured is a tricky area of tort law where rules vary by state. There is, however, a general rule of thumb for this type of claim: The witness must have suffered a real or emotional injury as a result of seeing a family member injured.
It’s important to note that the claimant must actually observe the occurrence causing injury to the family member. For example, if a mother sees her son get hit by a car and suffers an emotional or physical injury as a result, she may be entitled to damages from the car driver. But if she does not see her son until after the accident, she may not be entitled to damages. Some states allow recovery when a person is within earshot and actually hears the incident resulting in injury to a family member.