The Three Elements of Standing to Sue

When someone says, “I don’t have a dog in that fight,” it means they don’t have a personally vested interest in a given situation or outcome. In the legal realm, you need to have a dog in the fight in order for a court of law to hear your case. This is called standing.

So in order to be able to file a lawsuit, a person needs to have a stake or a personal interest in how a case is resolved. If you were injured in a car accident or in a slip and fall accident, you would most likely have standing to file a lawsuit against the party that caused the accident.

What You Need for Standing in Florida

When determining whether someone has standing, Florida courts look to see if there is an injury in fact, causation, and redressability. All three requirements need to be met in order to have standing to pursue a lawsuit. 

Injury in Fact

The first requirement for standing is that you’ve factually suffered an injury. The injury can be physical or financial. It could also be a violation of one of your rights granted under federal and state law.

In a typical personal injury case where someone suffers physical injuries and incurs medical bills and property damage, this element would be satisfied. You also need to show the court that you have a reasonable chance of proving the injury occurred through admissible evidence.

Causation

The second requirement for standing is causation. This means you need to show a connection between your injury and the defendant’s actions. So if your injuries were caused by someone other than the defendant, you wouldn’t have standing to sue.

Redressability

The third requirement for standing is redressability. Redressability concerns whether the court system can provide the relief you are asking for if you win your case. 

In a personal injury case, the court can’t put your body back to the way it was before an accident. It can, however, hold the defendant responsible for paying for your damages caused by the accident. In personal injury cases, these damages often include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Property Damage
  • Pain and suffering

Since a court can award financial compensation for these types of damages, the redressability requirement would be satisfied in these situations. It’s important to remember that just because you have standing to sue, it doesn’t mean that you will necessarily win your case.

Examples of Standing or Lackthereof in Personal Injury Cases

This section will explore two examples where the requirements of standing would be met and one example where they would not.

Example One

Let’s say you took a fall because of broken steps in a friend’s apartment building. You hit your head when you fell, causing serious brain injuries. 

You would most likely have standing to sue because the apartment building owner should have fixed the steps or put up a warning that they were broken. If they had done so you probably wouldn’t have been injured. A court would be able to award financial compensation to help with your damages. All elements for standing are met.

Example Two

A second example would be if you were in a car accident. Someone was texting and driving and rear-ended your car. The impact resulted in you suffering whiplash. You couldn’t move your head for two weeks and had to miss work and lose pay while you recovered. 

Again, you typically meet the standing requirement in this scenario. You have whiplash that was caused by the at-fault driver, and the court has the power to make you whole by awarding compensation. 

Example Three

Le’s say your co-worker was killed in an accident at work due to a faulty piece of machinery, and you witnessed the entire accident. You would most likely not have standing to sue for their wrongful death.

Witnessing the fatal accident was clearly disturbing and caused you to suffer extreme anguish. And causation is fulfilled because the maker of the faulty product was liable for your friend’s death. But in Florida, only the executor can pursue damages in a wrongful death claim, so the redressability element required for standing is not fulfilled. A court could not redress your injury because you wouldn’t be permitted to bring the claim.

Consult a Florida Personal Injury Attorney for Questions About Standing

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you might be able to pursue legal options to get compensation. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer will go over the facts of your case in detail and advise you on how to proceed. 

Contact the Pinellas County Personal Injury Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg personal injury law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
(727) 796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
(727) 344-4242