Hello, this is Attorney Hunter Cavell, and I want to talk to you today about the f word. Not that one, but fraud. I get a lot of calls from people who feel that somebody’s lied to them and has committed fraud against them. Now, there are certain issues with fraud. In a prior blog post, I talked about the duties that somebody has to prove in a tort claim, duty breach, causation, and injury.
In a fraud claim, you have to prove that, but you have to not only specify it with particularity, saying the time, place, and event of the fraud, but you also cannot just prove that it more likely happened than not. You have to prove it by clear and convincing evidence. What this means is fraud claims can be very tricky to prove. You basically have to have something in writing or a text message that another party lied to you and that lie tricked you to do something you normally wouldn’t do.
For example, if you buy a car and you’re on a test drive, you hear the engine rattling, you say, I don’t like that noise. And the car dealer says, you know what? Buy the car. We’ll ﬁx it anyways. Now, a lot of car dealers will have an as is clause saying, you bought it as is. And that usually will trump anything that’s said. Even if the car dealer, the representative, may have said they’ll ﬁx it, it’s best to have that in writing. Now, if you do have that in writing and they still didn’t ﬁx it, you may have a fraud claim.
Now, fraud claims are harder to prove, but that also means you’re entitled to better damages. You’re entitled to punitive damages, which many times are three times your actual damages. So, let’s say that the engine blew up in the car and it cost you $8,000. A lot of times you can get what’s called treble damages. I like to refer to them as triple damages and get $24,000. Not only that, but you can also get your attorney fees paid for. So fraud is harder to prove, but it’s supposed to be, because the damages are worse. The best thing is to get everything in writing and to make sure you know what you’re doing before you sign it. Don’t rely on someone else’s promises.
Handshakes aren’t always what they used to be for a lot of people. And if you have any problems with the fraud claim, I’m happy to take a look at it, but you very well might not like my advice, because like I said, they’re harder to prove. If you have any questions, 440-940-6441 or email [email protected]. Thanks and have a great day.
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