If you are the victim of a carjacking, you are likely feeling as though you have no options. However, with our help, you may be able to hold your carjacker or another involved party civilly liable. To discuss your case with an attorney for victims of carjacking in Fort Lauderdale, call Edwards Pottinger LLC: 954-524-2820.
Can I Sue for Damages If I Was Carjacked?
Yes. If officers caught the person or persons responsible, you can hold them liable for your damages. However, there are certain things we must do to recover compensation for any damages you suffered.
How Can We Establish a Carjacking in Court?
According to Florida Statute § 812.133, proving a carjacking requires we establish:
- Theft: First, we must show that the alleged carjacker committed a theft by taking a vehicle from your custody without your consent.
- Intent: Next, we must show that the perpetrator intended to deprive you of the vehicle on a temporary or permanent basis.
- Threat or Violence: Lastly, we must establish that the perpetrator threatened force, used actual violence, or put you in fear of actual violence during the theft.
Proving these elements will require as much quality evidence as possible. This evidence might include:
- Photos and surveillance video of the incident
- Expert testimony (e.g., video analysis, determining whether the person in surveillance video is the defendant)
- Medical records and medical expert testimony to evaluate the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries, as well as causation
- Police reports, officer testimony, and witness testimony to provide details about what happened
- Physical evidence including weapons used during the carjacking
- DNA testing results to prove the defendant was in the vehicle
Why Do I Need to Sue If the State Files Charges Against My Carjacker?
A state prosecutor will bring criminal charges against a carjacker in criminal court. The prosecutor will attempt to prove the defendant’s guilt and stop the defendant from committing similar crimes in the future. Carjacking victims may be asked to testify against their attacker to help the prosecution’s case, and may recover a small amount in restitution.
However, if injuries occurred or if the victim needed to attend therapy for anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, the only way to recover the compensation necessary is to bring a claim in civil court. You may bring a civil claim and recover civil damages, even if the state does not find your carjacker guilty in criminal court.
In both criminal and civil cases, there are certain elements of carjacking that we will need to prove for the court to find the defendant responsible for your injuries and damages.
However, the burden of proof in criminal court is much higher than in civil court. In criminal court, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the carjacking. To win in civil court, our attorneys will present convincing and accurate evidence that shows that the defendant was “more likely than not” the carjacker who stole your vehicle with force or violence.
Is Carjacking the Same as Theft?
No. While both carjacking and theft require the perpetrator to unlawfully take another person’s car, carjacking has the added element of force and/or violence. To carjack you, the perpetrator must use some form of threat or violence to steal the car from you. Auto theft, on the other hand, only requires the perpetrator to steal the vehicle.
Can I Sue for Anything Other Than Carjacking Itself?
In many carjacking cases, the perpetrator may do more than just threaten violence and take the vehicle away. Many attackers physically injure their victims or steal additional property from them. In such cases, we may be able to bring additional claims against the defendant including:
Talk to our attorneys to determine whether it is in your best interest to file additional claims against the defendant.
Can I Sue Other Parties?
Carjackers may not be the only ones liable for your damages and injuries. Property owners, business owners, and security companies may be liable for your attack if they failed to provide adequate security or lighting in the parking lot or garage where the carjacking took place.
Consider the following: you were leaving the mall at night. There were no working street lights around your car. There were also no security guards patrolling the area. This allowed the perpetrator to hide, attack you, and steal your car. We may be able to file a claim against the property owner for inadequate lighting and negligent security.
What Can Carjacking Victims Recover Civilly?
Carjacking victims may experience a great deal of pain and suffering physically, mentally, and financially. They may recover:
- Medical expenses if they suffered injuries because of the carjacking
- Damages for emotional distress and mental anguish to deal with the trauma they experienced
- Lost wages if they missed work because of their mental or physical injuries (or their lack of transportation)
- Property expenses to replace their vehicle if it was not recoverable or to fix the vehicle if it sustained damage
Carjacking victims in Fort Lauderdale not only lose one of their most valuable pieces of property, but also their ability to feel safe and secure as they go about their everyday lives. The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC understand how a carjacking can impact the lives of victims and their families for years to come. We hold carjackers liable for what they do to innocent people.
Call 954-524-2820 to file your claim for compensation today.