Theft and Vandalism Property Damage Lawyers

September 20, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Was your home or business burglarized or vandalized? If so, you have a right to feel shocked, angry, and vulnerable. You might also be worried about how much it may cost to repair property damage or to replace stolen items.

If you have an insurance policy covering your property, you could seek payment for expenses and losses due to theft and vandalism property damage. But insurers rarely make it easy to get the full compensation you're entitled to and will often deny and undervalue your claim to save themselves money.

You need to hire an experienced theft and vandalism property damage attorney who will fight for your interests. A theft and vandalism property damage lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, will be here to ensure the insurance company doesn't give you the runaround. With over 120 years of combined experience, our team has the knowledge and resources necessary to take on even the largest insurance companies and demand the full benefits and coverage our clients deserve. When you hire our firm, you can expect to work directly with an experienced lawyer who diligently pursues your interests and always makes themselves available to meet your needs.

If thieves or vandals damaged your property, do not let your insurer try to devalue your claim or pay you less than the total compensation you need. Reach out to Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, for a free initial case review. We'll discuss how a theft and vandalism property damage lawyer from our firm could help you stand up to the insurance companies and demand the full recovery you deserve.

Why Choose Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, After Suffering Property Damage from Theft and Vandalism?

Theft and Vandalism Property Damage Lawyer

If you've been the victim of theft or vandalism, you could recover money for your expenses and losses by filing a claim against your property insurance policy. However, insurance companies profit by minimizing their compensation for insurance claims. Insurers take advantage of claimants who try to handle their claims alone and often deal fairly with aggressive and knowledgeable attorneys prepared to fight as hard as necessary for full compensation for their clients.

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we provide the knowledgeable legal assistance and advocacy you need to secure the best possible outcome for your insurance claim. Clients turn to us for help in dealing with insurers for property damage claims because of:

Our Litigation Experience

Unlike some firms, our trial attorneys aren't afraid to litigate our cases in court if necessary. Some firms spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on marketing and need to settle as many cases as possible to make money.

For this reason, these firms are called “settlement mills.” Because they focus on getting money quickly, settlement mills might not always have their client's best interests in mind. The insurance companies also know that these firms will often take the first settlement offer to collect a fee and move on to the next case. While this model might work for the settlement mill and the insurance company, this often leaves the policyholder with a settlement that won't cover the total cost of the repairs or replacement of their property.

Unlike those firms, at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we are experienced trial lawyers. Although we advise clients to take a settlement when it offers fair compensation, we will not hesitate to bring cases to trial if necessary to seek the best possible outcome. And, we have the skill to win. In fact, the head of our firm's litigation group, attorney Stan Gipe, is a board-certified trial lawyer by the Florida Bar, a designation that recognizes his expertise in trying cases in court and before juries.

Our Focus on Quality Over Quantity

In contrast to the business practices of settlement mill law firms, we do not try to take every single case out there. Instead, we focus on providing the highest quality service and legal representation to the clients we represent. We want you to feel supported throughout the duration of your case. When you hire our firm, you will receive the direct cell phone number and email address of the lawyer handling your case. If you have questions, we'll be ready to provide you with the answers.

Our Extensive Resources and Thorough Approach

Our firm has the extensive resources to stand up to even the largest insurance companies. Insurers and their legal teams might try to make policyholders accept a less-than-favorable settlement by delaying the processing of their claims as long as possible. But at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we turn this tactic back on the insurance companies. Our firm has the legal and financial resources necessary to make insurers devote time and effort to dealing with your claim until it becomes less costly for them to offer you the fair compensation you have demanded.

Our Dedication to Providing You with the Support Your Need

We want to make sure you have the resources and support you need as you replace or repair property damaged by theft or vandalism. Whether you need temporary housing or immediate replacement of stolen or damaged property or household goods, our firm will provide whatever assistance you might need.

Our Firm's Mission to Help People Like You

We strive to help you stand up to the insurance companies because we have been there before. Our founding partner, Matthew Dolman, has up-close experience with the difficulties of dealing with insurance companies. When he was 14, his father was severely injured in an accident through no fault of his own. Unfortunately, Matthew's father chose a lawyer based on an advertisement and selected a settlement mill that offered no support or communication throughout the claim process. Matthew's father received far less than the fair value for his claim.

Based on how his father was treated, Matthew founded Dolan Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, to ensure his clients receive the responsible representation and personal service he wishes his father had.

Our firm has offices nationwide to assist clients throughout the country. We have locations on both coasts of Florida, including in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, New Port Richey, North Miami Beach, Doral, Orlando, Aventura, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Bradenton, Jacksonville, Largo, Tallahassee, Cocoa Beach, and Palm Harbor. In addition, we have offices in Houston, San Antonio, TX, New York City, and Boston, MA.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation wherever you are located to find out how our firm can help you with your property damage claim.

What Should You Recover for Theft and Vandalism Property Damage?

If you are the victim of theft or vandalism, you could receive compensation for:

  • Repair and replacement of broken gates, fences, doors, locks, windows, locks, and security systems
  • Repainting of interiors walls and ceilings
  • Repair or replacement of building exteriors
  • Roof repair or replacement
  • Fire and smoke damage remediation
  • Water damage or flooding
  • Structural repairs
  • Repair or replacement of damaged, destroyed, or stolen household goods, furniture, or personal items
  • Temporary housing costs if you need to vacate your property during repairs and remediation
  • Furniture and housing goods rentals
  • Moving and storage costs
  • Business interruption losses, including lost income and the cost of wages and other overhead, if you need to temporarily cease your business operations to recover from theft or vandalism at your business's place of operations

Multiple factors could affect the compensation you recover from the insurance company for theft and vandalism damage. These factors include:

  • The severity of the property damage you suffered, including the extent of repairs or remediation needed
  • The value of any personal property that was damaged, destroyed, or stolen
  • Any ancillary expenses you incur because of damage to your property, such as temporary housing costs or business interruption losses
  • The policy limits on your property damage insurance coverage
  • Your deductible amount
  • Any exclusions or limitations for coverage under the terms of the policy

The skill and experience of your legal counsel can also influence the amount of compensation you ultimately recover from the insurance company. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has seen all the tricks and tactics that insurers use to devalue legitimate claims. You can rest assured that our firm will do whatever it takes to get you the fair amount of money you're owed, whether at the negotiating table or in court.

Information About Theft and Vandalism

Unfortunately, theft and vandalism rank among the most common criminal offenses in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that in 2020 there were a total of:

  • 149,350 burglary arrests
  • 629,020 larceny/theft arrests
  • 9,780 arson arrests
  • 173,1770 vandalism arrests

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in 2020, there were a total of 291,923 reported incidents of larceny, as well as 51,928 reported incidents of burglary statewide. In addition, there were 5,811 arrests statewide that year for property destruction vandalism offenses.

In Texas, the Department of Public Safety reports that in 2020 there were 108,015 reported burglary offenses statewide, which resulted in a total loss of $318,610,248. In addition, there were 18,696 reported larcenies in the state, which resulted in total losses for victims of $822,595,968. Of these larcenies, 18,696 involved building thefts for losses of $37,411,020. Finally, DPS reports that in 2020 there were nearly 6,600 arrests in the state for vandalism crimes.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that, in 2020, vandalism and mischief crimes accounted for 7.9 percent of all homeowners' insurance claimed losses for an average indemnity cost of $6,773, while theft offenses accounted for 0.6 percent of losses for an average indemnity cost of $4,415. Of course, insurance claims for property damage caused by theft and vandalism can vary depending on the extent of the damage caused by the theft or vandalism, the value of damaged property and fixtures and the repair or remediation costs, or the value of stolen items.

Suppose you have difficulty getting fair compensation from your property insurance company for the expenses and losses you sustained due to theft and vandalism property damage. In that case, you could pursue a legal claim against your insurer. For example, if you have a bad faith claim or breach of insurance contract in Florida, the statute of limitations under state law gives you five years to file a lawsuit against your insurer.

In Texas, the statute of limitations on bad faith claims only gives you two years to file suit, while you may have four years to file a breach of contract claim. In Massachusetts, you have four years to file an unfair and deceptive practices claim and six years to file a breach of contract claim. In New York, you also have six years under the state's statute of limitations to file a breach of insurance contract claim.

Because the deadlines for pursuing a claim against your insurer for denial of coverage differ from state to state, you should speak to a theft and vandalism property damage lawyer with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, as soon as possible to make sure you have time to pursue your claim.

Types of Property Damage Claims That Can Arise from Theft and Vandalism

Thefts and acts of vandalism can cause extensive damage to your property and the items you own inside.

You recover compensation for expenses and losses arising from that damage, including:

  • Fire and smoke damage that caused by fire
  • Paint or exterior damage, including graffiti damage or damage caused by forced entry
  • Broken windows from forced entry or vandalism
  • Broken doors and broken, missing, or picked locks
  • Roof damage from fires or forced entry
  • Screen or porch damage caused by forced entry into your property
  • Lawn and landscaping damage from vandalism
  • Damaged doors and locks, closets, and furniture, including dressers, bureaus, desks, cabinets, and entertainment units
  • Damaged flooring and carpeting
  • Damaged, destroyed, or stolen electronics, household goods, artwork, jewelry, furniture, or clothing

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our skilled legal team could help you pursue financial recovery for your losses through:

  • Homeowners' or renters' insurance claims
  • Bad faith lawsuits if your insurer wrongly denies your claim
  • A lawsuit against the person or persons who stole from or vandalized your property

Do Not Leave Compensation on the Table by Fighting the Insurance Company on Your Own.

When you contact your insurer after property damage from theft or vandalism to report a claim, the insurance company will usually send out an adjuster to your property to assess the extent of the damage to your residence or commercial building and the value of the destroyed or stolen property.

Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often handle hundreds of claims at a time. And the adjuster assigned to your claim might not have extensive experience with property damage claims arising from theft or vandalism. As a result, your insurer may end up significantly undervaluing the losses you've incurred.

Getting the insurance company to pay the compensation you deserve requires persuasive evidence and aggressive legal representation.

The theft and vandalism property damage lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, could help you get the money you need to repair and replace property that was damaged, destroyed, or stolen by:

  • Carefully reviewing your insurance policy to determine what types of losses you are entitled to coverage for and what exclusions or limitations might apply, including deductibles
  • Assisting you with gathering any documentation or information that may be required to prove the losses that you suffered from theft or vandalism
  • Getting appraisals and valuations of damaged, destroyed, or stolen property so that we have evidence to push back against any underestimation of your losses by the insurance company
  • Helping you get back on your feet, like securing temporary housing if you need it
  • Filing your insurance claim on your behalf and negotiating with the insurer to get the money you need to repair and replace damage to your residence or business or stolen property

Not backing down when the insurer tries to delay or deny your claim and always being prepared to take your case to court if necessary to pursue the best possible result for you

Attorney Matthew Dolman founded our firm to stand up for clients' rights when insurance companies try to bully them into accepting less than the fair compensation they deserve. When insurers deal with us, they know we will do whatever it takes to secure maximum results for you. Let Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA help you.

Steps to Take After Home or Business Burglary or Vandalism

When you have been the victim of theft or vandalism, actions you should take to help prepare for filing a property damage claim with your insurer include:

  • Contact the police to report the theft or vandalism, as you will likely need a police report as part of your insurance claim.
  • Take photographs and video of any property that was damaged or destroyed. You should also document any damage to your property caused when thieves or vandals entered your property, such as busted or broken gates/fences, windows, doors, or locks. You may also want to photograph any security systems on your property, such as alarms, surveillance cameras, or security lights, and whether such systems were broken or tampered with.
  • Make sure to preserve any surveillance footage that may have captured the theft or vandalism.
  • Take time to carefully inventory your property to see what items may have been stolen. Begin gathering any documentation you have for that property, such as purchase receipts or invoices showing when the items were purchased and how much they cost.
  • Also, keep copies of any bills, invoices, or receipts for expenses you incur as you recover from the property damage, such as temporary housing costs or ongoing business expenses during shutdown operations.
  • Obtain an independent appraisal of repair and remediation costs for any damage to your residence or commercial property.
  • Get a copy of your property insurance policy and carefully review the terms, especially any deductible requirements, exclusions, or limitations to coverage.
  • Notify your insurer of your claim as soon as possible, and certainly within any deadline outlined in your insurance policy.

Finally, speak to a theft and vandalism property damage lawyer with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, as soon as possible. We can help you thoroughly document the expenses and losses that you have incurred, help you understand the terms of your insurance policy and what you should be compensated for, and communicate with your insurer on your behalf so that you can have peace of mind to focus on recovering from the disruption of theft or vandalism at your property.

Frequently Asked Questions About Theft and Vandalism Property Damage

Some of the more common questions that our theft and vandalism property damage clients have include:

Why was my property damage claim denied?

Although your property insurance policy may nominally provide coverage for losses resulting from theft or vandalism, your insurer may still deny a theft or vandalism property damage claim because of:

  • Failure to prove your ownership of claimed personal property or the value of the property—Insurers may try to limit the value of your claim by demanding that you provide substantial documentation to prove that you owned items stolen from your property, including receipts of purchase, invoices, bills of sale, photographic evidence, etc. Insurers might also dispute the value of damaged or stolen items, such as artwork or jewelry, potentially forcing you to obtain independent appraisals of their value.
  • Insufficient evidence of a break-in or vandalism—Insurers might also deny property damage claims because you lack sufficient proof that intentional destruction damaged your property rather than another innocent cause, such as wear and tear. Insurers may deny claims for stolen property if you do not have evidence of trespassing or forced entry, such as surveillance footage or broken locks or windows.
  • Failure to perform adequate maintenance—An insurer may also deny a theft or vandalism property damage claim because of the failure to install or fix various security measures on your property, including gates/fences, exterior lights and motion sensors, security systems, or door and window locks, meant that your property became open to crimes of opportunity. Insurers may also deny claims if you left windows open or doors unlocked while out of the house at work, school, or traveling out of town.
  • The claimed losses fall within an exception to coverage—Insurance policies often have numerous exclusions to coverage under the policy.
  • The claimed losses do not meet the policy deductible—In property insurance policies, you typically are required to be responsible for a certain amount of loss, known as the deductible, with any losses above the deductible limit becoming the responsibility of the insurance company. The insurance company may deny a claim that falls under your policy deductible.
  • Certain losses exceed the policy limits—Many insurance policies also have a policy limit or a maximum amount of compensation they will pay on a particular claim. If your losses exceed your property insurance policy's limit, the insurer will not pay losses above the limit.

Can I pursue compensation for property damage by the person or persons who committed the theft or vandalism on my property?

Suppose the police identify and arrest the individual or individuals who stole from or vandalized your property. In that case, you could also pursue a civil claim against them for the property damage you sustained. You can file a claim regardless of whether the state files criminal charges or the individual is convicted since the burden of proof in a civil suit is much lower than in criminal cases.

In Florida, the statute of limitations requires a property damage lawsuit to be filed within four years of the damage or loss, while in Massachusetts and New York, you must file a lawsuit within three years, and in Texas, you have only two years to file suit.

If the state convicts the person or persons who damaged your property through theft or vandalism, the court might order them to reimburse you for your losses through restitution as a part of their criminal sentence.

What happens to my insurance claim if I recover compensation from the party or parties who vandalized or stole from my home?

If you recover some or all the financial losses you suffered due to theft or vandalism property damage from the party or parties responsible for causing the damage, your insurance company may decline to reimburse you for that part of your insurance claim. If the insurance company has already paid you, they could seek reimbursement for the benefits they have paid you on the grounds that you may not receive a “double” recovery for a loss.

Do I need a lawyer if the insurance company has offered to reimburse me for damage caused by theft or vandalism?

Just because the insurance company has agreed to reimburse you for property or personal items damaged or stolen due to theft or vandalism does not mean you do not need legal counsel. For example, if you had unique or valuable items that were damaged or stolen, you should not simply accept the insurance company's valuation of the item.

An independent appraisal may reveal that the item has a much higher value than the one assigned to it by the insurer. An insurance adjuster may also miss property damage or other losses in a theft or vandalism crime.

For example, if someone stole items from your home and the insurance company agrees to reimburse you for their value, will the insurer also provide you compensation to fix the gate, door, lock, or window that the burglar broke to get into your home?

An experienced theft and vandalism property damage lawyer could see that you receive the money you're entitled to according to your policy. If you paid the premiums, you shouldn't have to pay out of pocket for property repairs or replacement if the coverage is available.

Was Your Property Damaged by Theft or Vandalism?

If you're the victim of theft or vandalism, contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options with a theft and vandalism property damage lawyer. We provide the qualified and personalized representation you deserve.

Matthew A Dolman Esq
Property Damage Attorney, Matt Dolman

As a policyholder, you rely on your insurance company to pay out when you have a valid property damage claim. But what happens when the insurer decides to deny, delay, or diminish your claim, just to save money? You have two choices: accept what they've offered, even if it is unfair, or hire a lawyer to fight for the full compensation deserve.

If you choose to fight back, our firm will be ready to stand up for you. We have extensive experience handling these types of claims, and we've built a reputation as a firm that the insurance company doesn't want to see on the other side of the negotiating table. We represent policyholders, not companies, and we want to see you get the money you need to rebuild your life if your property has been burglarized or vandalized.

With offices across both Florida coasts and in Texas, New York City, and Boston, MA, we're prepared to assist you no matter your location. Our consultations are 100 percent free and confidential, so call us or reach out to us online to schedule yours. Help is just a phone call away, so reach out to us now at 833-552-7274 or through our contact page.

Client Testimonial

“AMAZING and understanding attorneys! Did great on my case and I highly recommend Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for anyone that has been injured in an accident!"
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Jan 2020
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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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