Businesses have the right to protect themselves against theft just like individuals do. When someone steals property from your business, you have the option to pursue damages through the Florida Statute dealing with civil theft (F.S. 772.11). The purpose of this law is to give victims of theft legal recourse when an individual steals from them. You can reclaim property, recover damages, and more, but you might need the assistance of our Naples construction lawyers to get the legal relief you deserve.
In this brief article, a Naples construction lawyer will discuss how you can utilize a civil theft lawsuit to recover stolen property for your business. The National Equipment Register reports that theft is responsible for up to $1 billion in losses for the construction industry every year. Are your project sites protected? Do you have access to on-demand legal services to minimize the impact of theft? You can’t afford to let theft affect your bottom line.
In order to exact a successful civil theft claim against an individual, you need to be able to prove that the “theft” meets the statutory elements of theft and displayed felonious intent. This is basically legal jargon for proving that you did, in fact, own the property that was stolen and that the person who took it knowingly denied you the ability to use it despite the fact that it was your legal property. It’s also worth noting that the definition of “property” is important. Property includes anything of value, including tangible and intangible personal property and real property. Everything from a hammer to a work tablet to a commercial truck can be stolen. If you know who did it, you can pursue them with a civil theft claim.
Characteristics of a Civil Theft Claim
When you initiate a civil theft claim for damages, you need to start by issuing a 30-day written cure notice to the defendant. Consult a Naples construction attorney for assistance sending this notice and to make sure that your notice includes a demand for treble damages if payment isn’t received in a timely manner. There’s a five-year statute of limitations for civil theft lawsuits, so don’t delay if you’re ready to proceed with your claim.
Proving Your Claim in Trial
Once you’re in trial, it’s your job to fortify your claim with “clear and convincing evidence.” This is different than the “preponderance of the evidence” burden of proof required in other civil lawsuits. You need solid evidence and a compelling representation, even more so than in other types of civil lawsuits. You may be required to show evidence of theft, possession of altered property, or dealing in stolen property to back your claims. Ultimately, it’s up to the judge or jury whether or not you’ll receive damages from the defendant. A Naples construction attorney can also help you obtain an award that includes your attorney’s fees.