personal injury attorney

What Are the 3 Elements of Standing to Sue?

When you are involved in a car crash, are personally injured, or otherwise negatively affected by the actions of another person, you may wish to file a lawsuit. One of the first things your California personal injury lawyer will go over, however, is whether your case has the three elements of standing needed to sue.

Today, we’ll break down what the three elements of standing to sue are and how you can determine whether your case has these elements so you can proceed with your lawsuit.

What is Standing to Sue?

Derived from the Latin term “locus standi”, standing to sue is a broad concept that means the person filing a lawsuit against another party must be the “proper” party to request adjudication or compensation.

In simpler terms, people can’t simply sue each other for no reason. You have to have standing to file a lawsuit for it to be valid in the eyes of the court. To determine whether a person has the standing to sue another individual or party, a lawsuit must contain three key elements.

What Are the 3 Elements of Standing to Sue?

When filing a lawsuit, you must prove that you have all three elements of standing to sue, not just one or two.

Injury in Fact

The first and arguably most important element is “injury in fact”. This means that the person filing a lawsuit has to have suffered an actual injury. Note that “injury” in this sense can include physical injuries, mental or emotional distress, and/or economic loss.

Additionally, an injury in fact can include harm caused to recreational, conservation, or aesthetic interests depending on the circumstances and topic of the lawsuit. The injury must have occurred already in the majority of cases – it usually can’t be something that may happen in the future.


The next element of standing to sue is “causation”. This means that the injury a lawsuit revolves around must have been caused by the defending party. In other words, if you are in a car accident, you cannot sue the at-fault driver’s sibling to acquire compensation for your injuries or property damage.

For a lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must prove a connection between the conduct of the defendant and the injury(s) sustained.


Lastly, your lawsuit must have “redressability” for you to have the standing to sue. Redressability means that the court will be able to do something to make up for or correct the injury(s) of the plaintiff. This can be financial compensation, court orders that dictate the behavior of the defendant in the future, and so on.

How to Tell if You Have Standing to Sue

No matter who you want to sue or the circumstances of your case, you should contact California personal injury attorneys ASAP. Legal counsel will be able to tell you whether you have standing to sue one party or another based on the circumstances of your case, the details of your injury(s), and more. Contact us today for more information.