Charlottesville Fraud & Misrepresentation Attorneys
Fraudulent and deceptive practices can greatly harm the business interests of individuals, professionals, or corporations, which is why many people turn to Charlottesville Fraud Attorneys for assistance. Actionable fraud, however, in a legal sense, describes a very technical and specific type of conduct.
It’s a sad fact that many residents in Charlottesville have had reason to hire an attorney at MartinWren, P.C., as there are many ways consumers can be cheated by nefarious individuals or unethical companies. Our legal team can fight for victims and their right to recover their damages in full. Depending on the circumstances, this might also include the victim’s pain and suffering.
The Elements of Fraud Explained
Fraud is not simply an act of dishonesty, a broken promise, or a breach of contract. The law looks harshly upon fraud, classifying it as a tort for which both compensatory and punitive damages are available. As such, a successful fraud claim requires a plaintiff to meet, by clear and convincing evidence, the following specific elements:
- A false representation;
- Of a present, material fact;
- Made with the intent of inducing reliance;
- With the Plaintiff’s reasonable reliance; and
Each element has its own particularities. But the essence of a fraud claim is that someone intentionally misrepresented the truth to you and, when you reasonably relied upon the misrepresentation, you were harmed. As Charlottesville Fraud Attorneys may tell you, there are certain types of fraud that can occur even if the intention is not knowing – if a person mistakenly misrepresents a fact, a separate claim of negligent misrepresentation or constructive fraud may have occurred. Actionable fraud, however, requires that someone intentionally misrepresents the truth in order to induce you to rely on the statement to your detriment.
Furthermore, Fraud Attorneys located in Charlottesville from MartinWren, P.C may discuss with you as to what constitutes a present, material fact. Certain statements may simply be seen as a statement of opinion, puffing, or a promise of a future event. While the classic example of a used car salesman telling you a car is “in excellent condition” is viewed as typical “puffing” language, there are other illustrations which toe the line between fact and opinion. To determine whether this element of fraud is satisfied, the court may consider other factors such as the relationship of the parties or their history of business dealings.
Even where it is clear that someone intentionally lied to you or purposefully misrepresented the truth, but you did not rely upon the statement or were not harmed by the statement, there is no fraud. Another wrong may have been committed for which there is a separate remedy, but a fraud claim will not be successful. Additionally, the law requires that you act reasonably and prudently when relying on someone’s statement or representation. If you fail to exercise ordinary care for your well-being, the law may not afford you any relief through a fraud claim.
Where and How Fraud Happens
Fraud may occur in various business settings, some of which are:
- fraud and misrepresentation in the purchase, sale, or merger of a business;
- theft and embezzlement;
- breach of fiduciary duty and self-dealing by officers and directors, managers, and majority owners;
- fraudulent transfers of corporate or debtor assets;
- consumer fraud and unfair trade practices;
- theft of company trade secrets or other intellectual property by employees or others;
- lender liability; and
- unfair competition.
Class Action Consumer Fraud
When more than one individual joins together with Charlottesville Fraud Attorneys from MartinWren, P.C. to sue a defendant, it is considered a class action lawsuit. This type of lawsuit is usually open to all similar victims who were injured in the same way as the plaintiffs. The purpose of a class action lawsuit is to recover the victims’ damages and force the defendant to modify or eliminate the cause of the injuries so that no one else is hurt. A major advantage of pursuing a class action lawsuit is that it limits the overall court and lawyer costs as they are shared among all plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs do not have to pay upfront.
Assistance for Consumer Fraud
Our team of lawyers are adept at handling even the most complex of cases, and consumer fraud can be challenging as it often involves companies with deep pockets and a team of lawyers. Our team of Fraud Attorneys from Charlottesville will do what is within our legal power to fight unethical companies. If you have been the victim of consumer fraud in Charlottesville, contact us at MartinWren, P.C. to learn if we may be able to help you recover your damages.
The Prevalence of Fraud
Unfortunately, Fraud Attorneys based in Charlottesville are well aware that fraudulent activity is not uncommon. Some of the most egregious examples of fraud that our team have seen include situations like:
- Insurance companies, banks, or another type of financial institution in violation of one or more laws. Their reprehensible behavior may be in relation to their sales of products or services, their lending agreement and terms, or another illegal business method. Insurance fraud is woefully common.
- A manufacturer that produces and distributes a product that is faulty or defective and which causes one or more serious injuries to the consumer. In cases where a product is the cause of death for a consumer, the victim’s family has the option to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent company. In this scenario, damages that are usually recoverable include funeral and burial costs as well as the amount of wages they would have earned up until they retired.
- A company advertises a product or a service in a deceptive way, or they fail to provide information that is accurate and clear about the costs associated with their product or service.
A legal claim of fraud has strict pleading requirements. If those requirements are not followed, the fraud claim may be in jeopardy. Call us at (434)817-3100, and ask for John B. Simpson or Robert E. Byrne, Jr. to allow us to discuss your case and evaluate your remedies. We have the experience and legal skills needed to help you fully recover, so please contact the Fraud Attorneys in Charlottesville at MartinWren, P.C. immediately if you have been the victim of fraud.