My Car Was Vandalized! Can I Get Damages?
“Vandalism” is a broad term that covers any number of destructive behaviors. Generally speaking, vandalism includes any behavior where someone is intentionally trying to destroy, harm, alter, or otherwise damage property that belongs to another person.
Unfortunately, cars are fairly common targets for vandalism because they are often left in locations where the can easily be vandalized without anyone noticing.
Vandalism is a criminal offense that can be punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both. The trouble is that it is often very difficult to catch someone who damaged or destroyed another person’s property unless the act occurs frequently.
This not only makes it hard for police to catch and charge a person with this crime, it also makes civil cases difficult. You need to know who the vandal was before you attempt to sue someone for damages. This is often a limitation in many potential liability cases.
Damages for Vandalism
If you can find the culprit, you may be able to get civil damages for the destruction done to your vehicle. Often, the actual physical damage associated with vandalism is fairly small, so the claims can usually be handled in small claims court.
That means that they are sometimes faster, and easier to win than a case that needs to go to trial. Your Florida personal injury attorney can help explain this.
Am I Covered By Insurance?
Many people may not realize that their car insurance will not cover vandalism unless they have a specific provision in their policy regarding this.
Generally, only those policies that are considered “comprehensive” will address coverage for vandalism. If you carry a policy that offers basic coverage, then chances are that vandalism will not be included.
Even if your car is destroyed in your own driveway, it is likely that your homeowners insurance will not help either. It may, however, cover items in the car that have been damaged or stolen.
What If My Car Was Vandalized in a Parking Lot?
The person who actually did the damage to your car or truck is the responsible party. It makes very little difference if the vandalism happened on someone else’s property.
However, there is an exception to this when vandalism is a problem that happens frequently, and the property owner is doing little (or nothing) to correct the issue. This exception is more common that you might think, so be sure to get an attorney to give you an evaluation of the case.
What to Do After You Have Been Vandalized
If your vehicle has been damaged, you may be unsure of what to do next. Here are a few suggested steps you might take:
- Make a police report.
If your property has been vandalized, you should call the police so you have a police report on file. Keep in mind that vandalism is a criminal offense, so having a police report will be helpful.
Even if you do not know who has inflicted the damage, it is still a good idea to call the police. They may have had a series of vandalism problems in the area and already have a suspect in mind.
- Document the damage
You should also take steps to document the damage. Take pictures, because these will be helpful for filing an insurance claim and if you decide to pursue civil legal action.
If anything has been stolen, make a list of the items that you are missing. Note anything that has been damaged both inside and outside of the vehicle.
- Call your insurance company
The third step is to call your insurance company. Even if you know you do not have comprehensive insurance, it does not hurt to report the claim. It is possible that you have a clause in your policy that will cover your unique situation.
- Contact an attorney
An experienced car accident attorney can help walk you through your potential claim for vandalism. They can also help you work with the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve to fix your vehicle.