In a case involving intentional torts (not negligence or anything of that nature), if a Defendant's actions cause a Plaintiff severe emotional distress (such as the Plaintiff needing to see a psychiatrist for created panic disorder), would such severe distress then lend to elevating the classification of the case to a "personal injury" case, or is severe emotional distress (no matter how severe or technical in name/disorder) still not considered a personal injury since it's not really a physical injury but a mental one? Curious.
Arizona law recognizes both intentional and unintentional (negligent) infliction of emotional distress claims. To justify a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the conduct of the tortfeasor (the person causing the distress) must be extreme and outrageous. This is a pretty high threshhold. Also, the distress caused must be severe--usually accompanied by outward physical manifestations of the distress. One practical problem against bringing a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress is that most insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional or criminal acts. So, while a claim may exist, finding insurance coverage for such claims is problematic.
Disclaimer - We have not created an attorney/client relationship. Please do not consider this legal advice addressing your specific case.
Yes, emotional distress, whether Intentional or Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress ("IIED" and "NIED") are Causes of Action that fall under the generic category of "Personal Injury." You can certainly even have "NIED" or "IIED" flowing from a breach of contract lawsuit, for which you would add personal injuries to your breach of contract lawsuit.
Emotional injuries are personal in nature. Thus, they are personal injuries. They can even manifest in a whole host of physical symptoms.
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The law recognizes emotional distress as a personal injury. As stated above this can either be a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress or intentional infliction of emotional distress. It is normally important to have some documentation of the manifestation of distress in the form of a doctor or counselor visit or medication. Mental and emotional injuries can be just as devasting as purely physical injuries.
Personal injuries include psychological injuries. You may benefit from reviewing the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com, one of which deals with emotional injuries and seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist .
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Yes, emotional injuries are personal injuries.
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