In New York state, claims of emotional distress fall into one of two categories: negligent torts or intentional torts. Under New York's Civil Practice Law and Rules, personal injury laws govern negligent torts while intentional torts find their foundation in civil rights law. Subsequently, each tort carries its own distinct statute of limitations.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Negligent infliction of emotional distress occurs when the emotional distress comes as a result of another person's negligent actions. Although controversial and not accepted in many U.S. jurisdictions, the New York State code does acknowledge it as a legitimate tort and stipulates a statute of limitations of three years.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Intentional infliction of emotional distress, sometimes called mental distress, results from the deliberate actions of one individual that results in an intense mental reaction, such as fright or grief, in another. New York law allows the aggrieved party one year to bring suit.
Accrual, a term indicating the date when an action arises, marks the starting point of the limitations period. Per Article 2 § 203 of the New York code, "the time within which an action must be commenced...shall be computed from the time the cause of action accrued to the time the claim is interposed."