If I was a victim of vandalism and know who did it, how should I proceed?

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If I was a victim of vandalism and know who did it, how should I proceed?

I did not call police to scene my vehicle was badly keyed at a recent party. I am pretty certain I knew who did it.The home owner has a security cameras but refused to show me them. I confronted the spouse if the person I think did it and after a few days I received a call from this individual to apologize and they offered to pay for damages. If they do not come through what are my legal rights? How do I protect myself now?

Asked on September 29, 2014 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If the person who vandalized your car does not pay for the damage, you can sue that individual for trespass to chattel. 

Trespass to chattel is the intentional takinr or damaging of the personal property in the possession of another without consent or legal privilege.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for trespass to chattel) would be the cost of repairs to your car.

The answer to your question about how to protect yourself would be to have the culprit sign a written agreement to pay for the damage to your car.  You can get an estimate of the cost of repairs and have that amount stated in the agreement.


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