When a person other than you use your personal identifying information, like your name, credit card, Social Security details, or bank account numbers without your express consent. This would qualify as identity theft.
Consulting an attorney will allow you to understand your options for recourse and against whom this recourse can be actioned against.
How Can I Potentially Sue A Company For Identity Theft?
Naturally you can file a lawsuit against the identity thief, but these criminals are usually difficult to find.
In cases where the actual thief manages to get away without being caught, you may still attempt filing a lawsuit against the third party that had access to the personal information that was stolen and abused. For example:
- Other financial institutions,
- Government entities,
- Employers, and
- Any other business that may have negligently handled your personal information.
The type of liability will differ between parties because it depends on how the identity thief and the third party are related, if at all.
Therefore, in order to hold a company responsible for the damages incurred it will be necessary to initiate a civil lawsuit in either state, federal, or small claims court.
Appearance in state or federal courts will require guidance by an attorney, whereas the small claims court does not permit legal representation and limits the amount claimable to less than $10,000, there is no limit set in federal and state court.
How Much Can You Sue 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 offenses in the future. This is accomplished by awarding the victim additional compensation.
- Emotional damages - Emotional damage is difficult to prove, however the perpetrator can be held liable for emotional damage sustained by the victim due to the crime.
- Injunctive relief - These are specific orders issued by the court that require the defendant to either take, or refrain from a 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 failure of responsibility leading to the breach by the company.
Obtaining the fairest compensation will depend on the various legal procedures and framework governing the form of identity theft and how well you are able to justify your case through the requirements they establish.
Victims of identity theft have the right to seek compensation from third party entities entrusted with the information that was stolen. Victims can initiate a lawsuit to sue a company by enlisting the services of a reputable identity theft attorney, or by making use of the small claims court to initiate a case on their own behalf.