Emotional Distress

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Emotional Distress

What is the dictionary definition of Emotional Distress?

Dictionary Definition

n. an increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsuits for injury due to the negligence or intentional acts of another. Originally damages for emotional distress were only awardable in conjunction with damages for actual physical harm. Recently courts in many states, including New York and California, have recognized a right to an award of money damages for emotional distress without physical injury or contact. In sexual harassment claims, emotional distress can be the major, or even only, harmful result. In most jurisdictions, emotional distress cannot be claimed for breach of contract or other business activity, but can be alleged in cases of libel and slander. Evidentiary problems include the fact that such distress is easily feigned or exaggerated, and professional testimony by a therapist or psychiatrist may be required to validate the existence and depth of the distress and place a dollar value upon it.

Full Definition of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress refers to mental anguish and suffering including fear, indignity and shock. Damages for emotional distress may be recovered under some conditions in a personal injury claim but generally must be accompanied by physical injuries. Emotional distress may, under some conditions, be recovered without physical injury but a claimant would have to prove intentional infliction of emotional distress due to a defendant’s actions which were “both extreme and outrageous” and caused physical harm. For instance, if someone’s actions were so outrageous they caused you to miscarry your baby, for instance, you may not have suffered a physical injury but there was physical harm.

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim and you have suffered emotional distress you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Injury claims must be filed within a specific time frame called the statute of limitations and failure to file within that time will eliminate your right to recovery.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Emotional Distress. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 27, 2021 https://payrollheaven.com/define/emotional-distress/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Emotional Distress. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/emotional-distress/ (accessed: September 27, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Emotional Distress. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/emotional-distress/

Definition Sources

Definitions for Emotional Distress are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 2 Views.