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?


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.