Emotional Distress

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Mental suffering as an emotional response to an experience that arises from the effect or memory of a particular event, occurrence, pattern of events or condition. Emotional distress can usually be discerned from its symptoms (ex. Anxiety, depression, loss of ability to perform tasks, or physical illness).

In tort law, there are two causes of action that involve infliction of emotional distress: intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress i.e., bystander action.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]