Criminal mischief, referred to as vandalism, is the intentional and malicious damage of someone else’s property, per Florida law. Criminal mischief can result in misdemeanor or felony sanctions, involving time in jail or in prison, determined by how much damage was done. According to the legislation and relevant case law, vandalism, sabotage, defacement, breaking, and other damaging acts might result in property damage or injury.
It may be difficult, stressful, and complicated to file an insurance claim for vandalism, theft, or business disruption in Florida. Consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about insurance law if you are unclear about your insurance company’s obligations in relation to a theft or vandalism claim.
Moreover, insurance firms will step up and act morally, but they are in the business of making money, not paying claims. You can get advice on the best course of action from Johns Law Group. On behalf of homeowners, tenants, business owners, and proprietors of commercial property, we regularly evaluate, discuss, and, when required, litigate various sorts of insurance policies and agreements.
What is Vandalism?
Vandalism is a general term for a wide range of criminal acts. Overall, it refers to any deliberate action intended to damage, destroy, or deface another person’s property. Examples include:
- “Egging” a person’s vehicle or home;
- Spray-painting someone else’s property with the intent to vandalize;
- Graffiti as well as other “art” altering public property;
- Kicking someone and causing damage to their belongings using their hands or feet;
- Damaging someone’s car’s paint with a key or a dent;
- Slashing someone’s tire tread;
- Shattering a person’s windows;
- Graffiti on park seats; and
- Modifying or removing street signage.
In a few instances, a person may also be charged with vandalism if they have the tools necessary to do it, which might include a drill bit or glass cutter.
Although vandalism sometimes involves physical damage to property, it doesn’t constitute usually the same as crimes involving “destruction of property” or “damage to property,” which can entail far more significant physical harm, even though some jurisdictions use these terms to also include vandalism. Thus, what one state considers vandalism may be considered property destruction in others.
Elements of Vandalism
Vandalism, like other crimes, is composed of many components known as elements. The prosecution must show that each of these factors was present for you to be found guilty of vandalism. Let’s examine several elements that constitute vandalism.
- Deliberately. Vandalism cannot occur inadvertently. For instance, you haven’t harmed the neighbor’s property if you accidentally splash paint on their fence while repainting your home. (Nevertheless, you would still be bound by law to pay for the fence’s damages.) You must intentionally cause property damage with the intent to conduct vandalism.
- Physical damage. Graffiti, “tagging,” carving, etching, and other kinds of damage that, while frequently irreversible, are not so severe as to completely ruin the property or hinder it from operating as intended are all considered to be acts of vandalism. Physical damage can also include putting up stickers, posters, placards, or other markings on a piece of property.
- The property of a different person. You must intentionally cause harm to property that is not your own and that is not in your possession. You cannot, for instance, deface your own fence with graffiti or put stickers on someone else’s car without their consent.
Florida Laws and Penalties on Vandalism
According to Florida State Statute 806.13, vandalism gets referred to as criminal mischief. Criminal mischief requires the offender to have caused various kinds of harm to or further damage a different person’s properties.
Under some conditions, Florida law’s criminal mischief penalties 775.083 can be very severe. You may be prosecuted under a third-degree crime if your vandalism disrupts a commercial or public service including phone lines, utilities, or communications. Akin to this, damaging a church, synagogue, mosque, or any other places of religion is a third-degree crime penalized by a $5,000 fine along with up to five years behind bars.
Various kinds of vandalism are classified under Florida law:
- A first-degree misdemeanor is committed if the damage totals more than $200 but below $1,000.
- A second-degree misdemeanor is prosecuted with the offense if the damage amounts to $200 or below.
- A third-degree felony is committed if the damage exceeds $1,000.
Vandalism Claims Process in Florida
Residents of Florida who have had their property defaced may be able to submit a vandalism claim through their insurance provider. There are particular processes you must comply with when attempting to initiate a vandalism claim in Florida. Following this, we’ll go through the stages involved in filing a Florida vandalism claim, the function of insurance providers, and the significance of obtaining proof to back up your claim.
Step 1: File a Vandalism Report
In Florida, reporting a vandalism incident to the police is the initial step in making a claim. Additionally, you have to inform your insurance provider right away. It’s important that you tell your insurance provider all the relevant evidence, including the date and time of the occurrence, a thorough description of the damage done, and any additional pertinent details.
Step 2: Take photos of the damage
It’s essential to record the harm done by vandalism. Compile a list of all damaged goods and take photos or recordings of the damage. Further, you need to save any invoices and receipts for fixes and replacements. The evidence provided will strengthen your case and improve the chances of a favorable settlement.
Step 3: Speak with your insurance provider
Make a call to your insurance provider and send them all the data and records you’ve obtained. The adjuster will then be assigned by your insurer to look into the claim.
Step 4: The Investigation carried out by the Adjuster
The adjuster will examine the damage and calculate the claim’s worth. They might have to go through any pertinent paperwork and assess the property.
Step 5: Resolution
The adjuster will issue you with a settlement offer when they’ve finished their investigation. The insurance provider will cover the claim if you approve the offer. If you reject the offer, you could possibly be allowed to bargain for a larger payout.
In Florida, it’s important to note that the procedure for filing vandalism claims involves insurance providers significantly. They look into the claim, ascertain its worth, and then make a settlement offer. It’s vital to keep in mind that insurance firms are businesses with lessening monetary liability as one of their primary objectives.
Benefits of Hiring a Florida Vandalism Claims Lawyer
Vandalism can result in substantial losses in money and property damage for the parties involved. Employing a Florida Vandalism Claims Lawyer can be advantageous for several reasons if you have been the victim of vandalism.
- Knowledge of the Law: A Florida vandalism claims attorney is knowledgeable about the rules and legislation pertaining to vandalism claims. They can utilize their skills to make sure you are paid what you are due.
- Collecting Evidence: A lawyer may assist you in gathering proof to back up what you’re claiming, such as pictures, witness accounts, and police records. They might potentially look into the matter more thoroughly using their resources.
- Negotiating with Insurance Firms: Insurance firms could make a lowball settlement offer or try to downplay the value of your claim. For the purpose of guaranteeing that you obtain reasonable reimbursement, an attorney may negotiate with the insurance provider on your behalf.
- Lawsuits: A lawyer may bring a lawsuit to make certain you get the compensation you are due if negotiations with the insurer are unsuccessful. If required, an attorney may additionally defend you in court.
You could potentially be in a position to get larger payouts and have a greater likelihood of prevailing the case with an attorney on your behalf.
How to Choose a Florida Vandalism Claims Lawyer
It might be difficult to choose a Florida Vandalism Claims Lawyer since several variables need to be carefully taken into account. Finding a lawyer with experience, reputation, and competence in handling cases comparable to yours is crucial when looking for counsel to take on your vandalism claim.
- Experience: The first thing to take into account is the attorney’s experience. Choose a lawyer who has handled many vandalism lawsuits over a long career as a practicing attorney. An experienced attorney can provide you with helpful guidance on how to continue with your claim and will have a greater grasp of the legal system.
- Reputation: The lawyer’s reputation is also essential. Choose a candidate that possesses a solid reputation amongst their clients and in legal circles. To learn more about a lawyer’s reputation, you can read internet reviews, enlist the help of friends and relatives, or speak with the state bar organization.
- Success track record: The successful background of the attorney is an essential factor to consider. Find a person that has a track record of providing their clientele with effective outcomes. To learn more about the lawyer’s success rate, you might inquire about previous cases and settlements.
- Fees: The final factor to take into consideration is the attorney’s fees. Check out whether the attorney charges a fixed fee or on a contingency basis for their representation. Before finally deciding, make certain you are aware of their fees and any extra costs related to your case.
Hire A Florida Vandalism Claims Lawyer From Johns Law Group
Without legal counsel, it may be difficult to pursue a vandalism claim and receive the rightful reimbursement. A Florida Vandalism Claims Attorney may assist you in gathering proof, submitting the required paperwork, negotiating with insurance providers, and, if required, pursuing legal action.
It’s essential to obtain legal counsel as soon as a vandalism event occurs. An attorney can assist you to comprehend your alternatives and lead you through the claim-pursuing procedure. Furthermore, they may assist you in spotting any possible legal problems and making certain that your entitlements are upheld at all times.
Never be reluctant to contact a lawyer if you live in Florida and have experienced vandalism. Take the first step toward obtaining the financial reparations you are entitled to by getting in touch with a Florida Vandalism Claims Attorney from Johns Law Group at (866) 577-2701 or via our inquiry form.