Boys who saw brother die can sue for emotional distress

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that two boys who saw their 7-year-old brother get killed by a pickup truck in Central Oregon can proceed with a lawsuit seeking damages for emotional distress.

Multiple news outlets reported previous case law barred the boys, who were 8 and 12 at the time of the 2011 incident in Madras, from seeking compensation because they hadn't suffered physical injury. Dennis Kluser made a left turn into one of the brothers, Austin Hollenbeck-Hatch.

The state's high court said Thursday the boys didn't need to be physically harmed to seek compensation for psychological injuries.

Their lawsuit seeks over $51,000 for counseling and hundreds of thousands of dollars for mental anguish.

The brothers' case will now be able to proceed toward trial.

Oregon Public Broadcasting says an attorney for Kluser didn't respond to requests for comment.



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