It can be one of the most painful injuries imaginable. And of course it’s right in the middle of your face. A broken nose can be an expensive injury as well, between immediate medical care, missed time at work, and any reconstructive surgery that might be necessary.
Generally speaking, a broken nose can either be the result of an accident, or an intentional act. And in either case you may be able to sue for your injuries. Here’s a look at how.
Broken by Battery
Yes, you can sue someone for beating you up. So if you’re broken nose was the result of a fight, or even a person being reckless, you may be able to sue for battery. Though some state laws can vary, battery is generally defined as the intentional touching of another person in a harmful or offensive manner, without consent, and battery claims have four elements:
Intent: You must prove that the person intended to commit an act of unwanted contact, either towards you or another party;
Contact: You must prove actual contact must be made, with your actual body or your “extended personality” like a necklace, piece of clothing, or purse;
Harm: You must prove that the manner of the contact was harmful or offensive; and
Damages: You must prove the physical injury, damage to your property, or emotional harm caused by the battery is compensable by a money award.
Proving these elements may be easier in some cases, like being in a fight, than in others, like being pushed down in a crowd.
Broken by Accident
Even if your broken nose was an accident, you may still be able to sue. Personal injury lawsuits are generally negligence claims, which are also premised on four main elements:
Duty: You must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, like to drive carefully, shovel their sidewalk, or clean their store’s floor;
Breach: You must prove that the defendant failed to meet the duty, generally by failing to exercise reasonable care;
Causation: You must prove that the defendant’s breach (and not something else) caused your broken nose, and that the defendant could or should have foreseen that some injury would occur; and
Damages: The same as above, you must prove that money can compensate you for medical expenses, lost wages, or other harm.
Again, proving each element of a negligence case can be more complicated than it seems. To find out if you can sue for your broken nose, you may want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.