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Actionable Per Se

Personal injury cases whether spinal cord injury, brain injury or chronic pain cases all share one important feature. The plaintiff has to show that the defendant’s negligence caused a loss. There are a few exceptions.

An incident is ‘actionable per se’ when the loss is obvious. Certain types of slander qualify. Consider the statement ‘Mr. Smith is a pedophile.’ We can assume the statement will make others in the community wary of Mr. Smith. Few people sit on the fence on this one. His reputation has been harmed. If it’s untrue, he can make a claim in slander and the court will assume that he has suffered a loss and award him damages.

Battery, (harmful or offensive touching), is another type of wrongful act that is ‘actionable per se’. Battery can range from a punch to having someone spit in your face.

Even though an act may be ‘actionable per se’, it’s sometimes best to leave legal claims and litigation to injuries that make a meaningful impact on function or quality of life. The compensation awarded in claims where no actual loss is shown is modest at best. With dwindling court resources and our legal system under pressure to service a growing population, a claimant can expect the court to ask her to bear her own legal costs in a lawsuit advanced solely on principle.

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