If around 5 years ago my car was stolen and found the next day totalled, what actions can i take towards the man who totalled my car?

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If around 5 years ago my car was stolen and found the next day totalled, what actions can i take towards the man who totalled my car?

The man who was caught in possession of my car was charged with recieving stolen goods because I couldn’t 100% identify him as the person who stole it. my insurance company didn’t cover the theft and left me with around $12,000 in debt.

Asked on January 1, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What I think that you wish to do is to sue him civilly under the legal cause of action of injury to personal property (property damage).  That carries with it a 6 year statute of limitations in New Hersey so you have some time left there.  My concern is the proof that you need as to same.  Although the proof in a civil action is not the same as in a criminal action - where the proof is much more stringent - I worry that you have enough evidence to survive a motion to dismiss. Although it is true that circumstantial evidence may be able to help you some what, you need to speak with ana ttorney on this matter in detail to get specific guidance.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You could try suing the individual who wrecked your car. The statute of limitations, or time to bring a lawsuit, for damage to personal property, like a car, in NJ is 6 years, so from what you write, you should still have time to initiate a lawsuit. Bear in mind that if the person you sue has limited income or assets, and/or doesn't care about his credit rating and having a judgment against him, even if you win the suit, you may be unable to collect money.


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