First, you must have suffered a legally recognized injury to your person or property. Second, your injury must be the result of someone else’s fault. Your injury need not be physical to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Suits may be based on a variety of nonphysical losses and harms to your reputation or psyche. In the intentional tort of assault, for example, you do not need to show that a person’s action caused you actual physical harm, but only that it caused an expectation that some harm would come to you. You also may have an action if someone publicly has attacked your reputation (the tort of defamation), invaded your privacy, or negligently or intentionally subjected you to emotional distress.
(via findlaw, links added)