Standing Requirements to Initiate Lawsuit in North Carolina
Fort Mill, SC Personal Injury Attorney
Standing is a requirement imposed by the United States Constitution Article Three Section Two, which insures all litigants have proper standing to bring forth a lawsuit in state or federal courts. Standing is the capability of a “real party in interest” to initiate a lawsuit. A party may be considered a “real party in interest” if the lawsuit will either benefit or hurt the litigant and by substantive law the litigant has the legal right to enforce the claim brought.
To successfully assert standing three components must be proven:
- Injury in fact,
- Causation; and
For standing, it is not necessary that the party demonstrate an injury has already occurred, a showing of immediate or threatened harm may also suffice. The purpose of illustrating standing to a court is meant to assist the judicial system in disposing of cases in which the litigant’s injury was not directly connected to conduct of another or in which the court could not grant the litigant a resolution that would benefit them.
Injury in Fact:
To satisfy the requirement of an injury in fact, the litigant must have faced an invasion of a legally protected interest that is neither conjectural nor hypothetical. For example, in Coker v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation, plaintiffs alleged they had suffered from an injury in fact after purchasing a minivan that did not have a brake shift interlock device (BSI). The North Carolina Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs did not possess injury in fact because of their mere speculation that damages would occur at some time in the future. Therefore, because the plaintiff’s damages were hypothetical and no concrete and particularized injury had yet occurred the litigants did not have proper injury in fact, and thus no standing to bring forth the claim.
A litigant will fulfill the causation requirement of standing when the injury is traceable to the action of the defendant. The injury the plaintiff is suffering from must be causally connected to the complained of action engaged in by the defendant. Causation cannot therefore be caused by some third party or action independent of the defendant. For example, in medical malpractice cases the “connection between the negligence and death must be probable not merely a remote possibility.” In Day v. Brant, defendants argued that the testimony of Dr. Wyatt did not establish causation. However, after noting that Dr. Wyatt’s testimony suggested that had the defendants complied with the standard of care the victim would have had a better chance of survival the North Carolina Court of Appeals held this testimony was sufficient to establish causation. Further, the court stated that even though Dr. Wyatt could not state with absolute certainty that the victim would have survived, absolute certainty is not required and causation was properly established.
Redressability is the last requirement to show that a litigant possesses standing and shows that the litigant’s injury is likely to be remedied by a favorable decision from the court. The policy rationale behind this requirement is that a litigant should be able to benefit from the court’s decision and judicial resources are effectively utilized by those injured.
Standing in Personal Injury:
Standing in personal injury claims is usually obvious in that there is an easily established injury in fact, the injury is directly linked to the negligent conduct of another and the courts are able to remedy the wrongdoing to the litigant, usually by monetary damages.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law:
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.