How Does a Plaintiff Prove Negligent Misrepresentation?
When one party’s actions cause another party to suffer financial losses, the financially injured party has the right to file a civil lawsuit, asking the court to order the defendant to reimburse the injured party for those losses. Fraud is one of the reasons that you can sue someone for damages, but while it is easy to feel that someone has defrauded you, it is much harder to meet the legal standard of proof to persuade the court that the defendant’s actions count as fraud. It is much easier for you, as a plaintiff in a fraud lawsuit, to prove that the defendant has defrauded you when the defendant’s false statements are in the form of written documents. In other words, it is easier to win your fraud case when presenting a vehicle report or health insurance claim containing false statements than when the fraud in question was merely a lie that the defendant told you verbally. A Pasadena fraud and negligent misrepresentation lawyer can help you successfully pursue your negligent misrepresentation case.
What Negligent Misrepresentation is and What it is Not
The court will only rule in favor of the plaintiff in a negligent misrepresentation case if the plaintiff convincingly demonstrates the following:
- The defendant made a false statement about a fact
- The defendant could not have reasonably believed that the statement was true
- The plaintiff reasonably relied on the defendant’s assertion as a basis for making a decision
- The plaintiff suffered financial losses
- The defendant’s false statement was the only reason or one of the main reasons for the plaintiff’s financial losses
This all sounds simple, but California case law has documented a wide variety of successful defenses to claims of negligent misrepresentation. These are some situations where allegations of negligent misrepresentation do not hold up in court:
- The defendant’s speech was a matter of opinion, not fact.
- Sales puffery counts as opinion, not fact.
- Speculative predictions also count as opinions.
- The plaintiff did not do their due diligence in evaluating the credibility of the defendant’s statement before deciding whether to rely on it.
In other words, the courts interpret fraud laws to mean that businesses must be honest in their commercial dealings, but consumers and business clients must be discerning when basing a financial decision on statements made in a commercial context. Negligent misrepresentation cases are much harder to win than they sound. If you have suffered financial losses because someone lied to you in a business setting, you do not want to lose more time and money unsuccessfully pursuing a negligent misrepresentation claim. By hiring a business law attorney with extensive experience with negligent misrepresentation cases, you have a better chance of getting a fair settlement or damages award.
Contact a Pasadena Business Litigation Lawyer About Negligent Misrepresentation
A business litigation lawyer can help you recover damages if you have suffered from negligent misrepresentation. Contact Andrew Ritholz in Pasadena, California, or call (626) 844-7102.