Northern Virginia Fraud
Few things are as shocking as uncovering fraud. It comes in many forms, from misrepresentations to theft, and can hurt your or your business financially and reputationally. Many people think that the criminal justice system will handle the problem for them. However, criminal and civil litigation are separate processes, meaning the criminal court system is designed around punishing the offender, not around reimbursing you financially. Instead, you must seek justice through civil litigation.
PJI Law’s experienced Northern Virginia fraud attorneys will investigate your case and file a lawsuit. With our help, you can pursue the money you lost and restore your reputation. This process will also hold the other party accountable, protecting others from their fraudulent actions. And of course, if you are being unfairly attacked with a fraud claim, PJI Law’s attorneys can help you as well.
Proving Fraud in Virginia
There are typically four elements involved in successful fraud cases. Your Northern Virginia fraud lawyer will provide evidence to prove or disprove:
What is reasonable reliance?
You usually have to prove reasonable reliance for a successful fraud claim. This means that you believed the statement and took action based on that belief. Your belief must be reasonable, meaning that you could not expose the fraud by having been reasonably diligent.
If someone misrepresents the facts, but you don’t believe the information, you probably don’t have a fraud claim. This is a simple lie, and you cannot take legal action. For example, if someone forges an invoice to try to steal money, but you catch the lie and don’t pay, a civil fraud suit won’t be successful. Of course, if the person escalates the claim and continues to try to collect the money, he or she will break the law, and you can take legal action. This is all quite complicated, so it’s wise to consult with a Northern Virginia fraud attorney.
Virginia law requires that you prove intent in fraud cases. The person must knowingly misrepresent the facts for personal gain. If the misrepresentation was accidental, there is no actual fraud committed. However, that does not mean you cannot take legal action. In this case, you could file a claim for negligent misrepresentation. The person is still legally liable for the misleading information, even though it was not intentional.
A proper investigation is necessary to determine if the person had intent when misrepresenting the facts. Your Northern Virginia fraud lawyer will review all the evidence to determine if you have a fraud case. If you don’t, your attorney will go over your other legal options.
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Damages in Fraud Cases
Virginia law takes fraud claims very seriously and punishes perpetrators accordingly. Because fraud is a tort case, victims can receive up to $350,000 in punitive damages, on top of compensatory damages that the court can award if you win your claim. Many people try to turn breach of contract cases into fraud claims so they can get punitive damages, but this is difficult to do. The defendant must breach common law instead of simply breaking the contract. Your attorney will go over your specific case to see if it meets the requirements for fraud. If it does, your Northern Virginia fraud lawyer can pursue punitive damages on your behalf.
Statute of Limitations for Fraud Cases
The statute of limitations for most fraud cases is based on the discovery rule. That means the clock starts ticking when you either discovered or should have reasonably discovered the fraud. Upon discovery, you have up to two years to file a claim for most cases. If you don’t file in time, the defendant can ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed, and the judge will toss out the claim. Contact a Northern Virginia fraud attorney as soon as you notice the fraudulent action. This will give your attorney time to gather evidence and prepare your case before the statute of limitations is up.
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