Cause of Action Law and Legal Definition

A cause of action is a right to bring a lawsuit. A person or entity may have a cause of action limited by the time frame set forth by statute for bringing a lawsuit. A cause of action may exist under the common law (judge made law) or granted by statutes. In order to have a valid cause of action, all the legally defined elements of a claim must exist.

The basis for the cause of action must be pleaded in the initial complaint in a lawsuit. For example, a lawsuit made be based in tort, fraud, breach of contract, etc. More than one cause of action may be stated in a lawsuit. The legal theory for the cause of action must also provide for a remedy. Not all injuries have a legal remedy, and therefore, are not a cause of action.