Identity theft occurs when another person fraudulently makes use of another individual’s name and personal information for personal gain; most often financial gain in the form of credit cards and loans.
Obtaining the personal information of a potential victim varies in difficulty based on the level of precautions they have taken to safeguard their information.
Federal and state laws demand that third party entities safeguard the personal information they handle on behalf of a consumer; or risk severe consequences.
Can You Hold A Company Responsible For Identity Theft?
In most situations, criminals who successfully infiltrate and steal information do so anonymously. This may cause victims of identity theft to wonder who can be held responsible for the damages they have suffered through no fault of their own.
The victim may seek compensation from the third-party entity which had been entrusted with the private information as provided for in federal and state law. This includes any business that had possession of and may be responsible for the stolen information.
It remains important to take immediate action once any suspicious transactions have taken place.
What Can Be Recovered Suing A Company For Identity Theft?
When suing a company for allowing identity theft the victim may be able to sue in civil court and potentially recover;
- Compensatory damages - These damages are designed to recuperate the financial losses sustained by the victim.
- Punitive damages - These damages are used to discourage the perpetrator from repeating the same offences in the future. This is normally accomplished by awarding the victim additional compensation.
- Emotional damages - Emotional damage is hard to prove, however the perpetrator can be held liable for emotional damages sustained by the victim due to the crime.
- Injunctive relief - These are specific orders issued by the court that require the perpetrator to either take, or refrain from certain actions.
What can be recovered will ultimately rely on the type of information that was stolen during the breach, the extent of the damages, and the degree of negligence or lack of responsibility leading to the breach by the company.
Compensation will depend on the various legal procedures and framework governing the form of identity theft, and how well one can present evidence that meets the burden of proof.
Do I Need An Attorney?
Considering how the specific facts of the case apply to the relevant federal and state laws can be overwhelming for most victims of identity theft.
Most companies will employ the services of a legal firm to represent them to minimize potential damages, or ensure that the case is completely overturned. Going up against these lawyers is no easy task. Consulting a lawyer could benefit you when the case is judged.
When identity theft takes place through a third party and the perpetrator can’t be located, or is unable to compensate for the damages due to a poor economical standing; the victim of identity theft could have the right to claim damages against the company.
Compensation can be influenced by federal and state laws, the terms and conditions agreed to when entering into a relationship with a company, the nature of the information, and the degree to which a company is found negligent.