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Last Modified: December 28, 2022

Cause of Action

Black’s Law Dictionary examined most English law cases and observed that cause of action could mean several things including: case, claim, “ground on which an action may be maintained or sustained, ground or reason for an action,… particular matter for which suit is brought,… [or] subject-matter on which plaintiff grounds his right of recovery” (Black’s Law Dictionary). “A set of predefined factual elements that allow for a legal remedy. The factual elements needed for a specific cause of action can come from a constitution, statute, judicial precedent, or administrative regulation” (Cornell Law School). “A specific legal claim… for which a plaintiff seeks compensation” (Nolo’s Law Dictionary).

Example Sentence

Trevor’s poor driving caused an accident with Mandy, meaning Mandy had a cause of action against Trevor for causing her injuries.

Case Study

Lewis found himself dealing with massive injuries and medical bills as a result of his motorcycle injury. However, he discovered that the motorcycle mechanical failure came from the company’s poor assembly of it. Because he found a way of proving the direct link between both the accident and the motorcycle’s mechanical failure, as well as the motorcycle’s problem and the company’s failure to properly build the bike, Lewis had a cause of action against the manufacturer. So he could sue them in court in order to seek compensation for all of his injuries and other losses.

Other Important Information

“Each cause of action is divided into discrete elements, all of which must be proved to present a winning case. A complaint often states multiple causes of action, and each cause of action is made up of certain required elements — for example, a cause of action for breach of contract must show offer, acceptance, transfer of something of value, and breach of the agreement” (Nolo’s Law Dictionary). Many miscellaneous reasons can create a cause of action, including the loss of partnership if an injured spouse’s lifestyle is severely affected (Utah Code) and loss of services the spouse could have performed (see Corbridge v. M. Morrin & Son). But Utah does not recognize other causes of actions such as a person seeking compensation for taking time off work for taking care of children because of an injury to the spouse (Utah Code) or a health care provider’s negligent credentialing in a medical malpractice case (Utah Code). Utah’s code on insurance sets forth what causes of actions can and cannot be litigated. The court can also waive filing fees if the plaintiff will lose his or her cause of action because of an inability to pay the fees (Utah Code). It is also known as a ‘right of action.