Is It Possible to Bring a Civil Suit for Vandalism?
Vandalism is an intentional property crime that involves damaging or destroying another person’s property; usually a car, house or building. People often describe being vandalized like a personal assault. When someone breaks into our property and vandalizes it with graffiti, by breaking windows, slashing tires or gluing locks, it can leave us feeling shaken and violated. On top of this, it costs money to fix the damage and restore the property to the way it was. Even when a property is insured, victims are usually left with a deductible to pay before the insurance will cover remaining damages.If you are the victim of vandalism, you may be wondering if criminal charges can be filed against the perpetrator or whether you are able to bring a civil suit to recover for your financial losses. We understand that you may be feeling overwhelmed, angry and confused. We hope to offer some helpful information to help you move forward and seek the justice you deserve.
What should I do if I am the victim of vandalism?
At its core, vandalism is a criminal act. The first thing you should do if your property was vandalized is to file a police report. Provide any information or evidence that you may have, including pictures of the damage, security footage, contact information for witnesses and approximately when you believe the vandalism occurred. From there, the government will look to see if there is sufficient evidence to file a criminal complaint or charges.
After calling the police, you should contact your insurance company. In most circumstances, vandalism will be covered through the victim’s insurance policy after the deductible is met.
- Comprehensive auto insurance policies cover physical damage to vehicles
- Renter’s or homeowner’s insurance covers physical damage to living spaces
- A business owners policy (BOP) covers damage to the physical part of a business
Can I file a civil suit for vandalism?
If you are in a situation where you are not sure how you are going to pay the full cost to restore your property, then you may be wondering about a civil suit. The purpose of a civil suit is to recover monetary damages from the defendant in order to cover the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged or destroyed property. If your property was damaged badly enough that it is no longer usable – such as an arson that burned the building to the ground – then you may be able to recover the cost of the property. When this happens, it means that in addition to jail time, the court will order restitution (the cost of the damage). Note that restitution can be difficult to enforce when the defendant has no financial means.
Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. The only way to know if you will be able to bring a claim in civil court is to discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney. If the attorney takes on the case, they will gather all evidence and interview witnesses in order to build a compelling case based on the laws in your state.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If your property was damaged or destroyed because of the intentional act of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. In some cases, it is possible to file a civil claim in order to pay to replace or repair the property. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!