Understanding Property Damage in Pasadena
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Understanding Property Damage in Pasadena

Understanding Property Damage in Pasadena

Understanding Property Damage in Pasadena

Section 584 of the California Penal Code addresses property damage and the enforceable punishment for those convicted of such a crime. When thinking of property damage, you may not realize how common it is and that it encompasses criminal, negligent, and accidental occurrences. For example, precincts such as the South Pasadena Police Department publish weekly crime summaries containing many entries which involve property damage. Therefore, it is necessary that you first understand what is covered by law regarding property damage to understand claims that can be made and what the process entails.

Property Damage Defined

Before determining valid claims for property damage, you must first understand property damage as defined by California law. To be covered by the law and eligible for a claim, a person; concerning another individual’s real or personal property; must have destroyed, damaged, or defaced the property with graffiti or other inscribed material. If any of these conditions are met, then property damage has by definition occurred, and claims can be made against identified accused persons alleged to have caused the property damage. 

Property Damage Claims

Perhaps you own your own business in downtown Pasadena and upon returning to your business after a holiday weekend, discover the sides of your store have been spray-painted with vulgar graffiti. The graffiti of your building is considered property damage, and if you can identify the person or persons responsible for the graffiti, you can seek recovery of damages incurred. Recovery for damages that happened as a result of property damage can be sought through civil tort law. A tort is classified as a civil wrong that causes harm to an individual or loss. Property damage would be considered an intentional tort to property, and the individual who caused the damage can be held responsible for any loss or harm related to the damage. For instance, if the graffiti on the side of your downtown Pasadena office building was vulgar and required you to close your business until the graffiti could be covered, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earnings. 

The Process of Claiming Property Damage Losses in Court

First and foremost, it is crucial to remember that California places a three-year statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit regarding any losses associated with property damage. Any proceedings regarding loss or damages incurred must be filed before this deadline. For losses totaling less than $10,000, a lawsuit can be filed in Small Claims Court. Your selected property damage lawyer may choose to file a claim on your behalf to recoup costs associated with the property damage, or they may attempt to reach a solution with the opposing party through methods such as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The course taken will depend upon many variables, including the accused individual’s willingness to cooperate with mediation alternatives. Legally you may be entitled to compensatory damages. 

Compensatory damages are money awarded as compensation for the loss you sustained due to the property damage. Compensatory damages are classified as either special damages or general damages. Special damages include economic losses, while general damages are non-economic and include compensation for pain and emotional distress. How much you can be awarded for your property damage loss depends on the actual cost of the damages and the cost of repairing the damages. Additionally, proof indicating the amount of revenue lost due to the business becoming instantaneously inoperable will need to be provided. These figures combined with the fault of the accused individual will all be combined and used to determine compensatory damages. 

All in all, property damage claims in California can assist in recouping monetary damages resulting from acts such as graffiti of vulgar words on the side of your downtown Pasadena office building. You may be able to strike up an agreement with the accused individual, or you may have to file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court. No matter which course you choose, there are many options available to recover losses related to property damage.