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Defendant intentionally interfered with your possession. Conversion lawsuits can sometimes be very complicated. The bike isn’t rideable in this condition and the neighbor refuses to replace it. As you can see, damages in a conversion case depend largely on the rules and laws in a particular area. Contact one today. Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select, Please enter a legal issue and/or a location. When you want to reclaim the value of your personal property that was damaged or altered by some else’s unauthorized use, you can file a lawsuit for conversion. However, some state courts are trending toward recognizing intangible property as personal property. In setting damages, the court looks at the value of the property at the time of the conversion. Google Chrome, However, an actual demand and refusal is not required if the property was wrongfully taken without your consent, or the defendant’s actions make it clear that demand would be useless. Conversion is a tort that exposes you to liability for damages in a civil lawsuit. Microsoft Edge. You are also entitled to recover costs directly associated with the loss of the property. But if your claim concerns valuable property or your ownership of the property is in dispute, an experienced personal injury attorney can help protect your interests. Most anything you own that’s moveable can be subject to conversion. Property without physical substance, such as trade secrets or intellectual property rights, are not usually subject to conversion unless they have been merged into a physical form like stocks or insurance policies. Real estate isn’t moveable, so it’s not covered. Are you a legal professional? Generally, intentional tort claims must be filed within three to six years of occurrence. You could file a criminal complaint with the police, but that won’t get your bike fixed. Conversion is the civil equivalent of criminal theft charges. Contact an Attorney about Your Conversion Claims. In England & Wales, it is a tort of strict liability. Conversion can occur when someone, acting without your consent, does any of the following with your property: Wrongful conversion only applies to physical personal property, such as a bike, cell phone, or computer. Visit our professional site », Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors This intentional tort is the civil law equivalent of a criminal theft charge. Stay up-to-date with how the law affects your life, Name This can be frustrating because it may not provide enough compensation to replace the property. Copyright © 2020, Thomson Reuters. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. Some courts allow for punitive damages or exemplary damages to punish malicious or fraudulent behavior. If someone takes or otherwise seriously interferes with your use or enjoyment of personal property, you should be compensated. State laws determine what damages are available and how damages are calculated. Your neighbor took your bike without asking and now the frame is bent. Each state sets its own statutes of limitations for civil cases. This intentional tort is the civil law equivalent of a criminal theft charge. It’s not necessary to prove that the defendant intended to harm the property. Its equivalents in criminal law include larceny or theft and criminal conversion. The period in which a lawsuit must be filed is known as a statute of limitations. To make out a conversion claim, a plaintiff must establish four elements: Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected. Conversion can occur when someone, acting without your consent, does any of the following with your property: Firefox, or It may be necessary to consult with a lawyer if you have a conversion claim. Individuals who want to sue to reclaim the value of their property may sue in small claims court or by hiring a civil attorney to handle the case for them. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. Defendant’s actions are the legal cause of your loss of property. So if your neighbor damaged a $1,700 racing bike you bought five years ago, the court will set the damages at fair market value for a used racing bike. When you want to reclaim the value of your personal property that was damaged or altered by some else’s unauthorized use, you can file a lawsuit for conversion. Damages for a conversion claim are based on a principle of fairness. The tort of conversion covers a much broader range of interference with property than just loss of physical possession. The email address cannot be subscribed. For a successful conversion claim, you have the burden of proving that: Since conversion is an intentional tort, you must show that the defendant purposefully took your property in a manner that interfered with your interest in the property. A conversion claim is a wrongful assumption or exercise of the right of ownership over goods belonging to another in denial of or inconsistent with the owner’s rights. In this case, plaintiffs were not entitled to immediate possession of treasury bills when they were alleged to have been converted. We recommend using Many conversion claims can be filed in small claims court without the help of an attorney. If you file your conversion claim after the statute of limitations has run, your claim will be denied. For example, you could recover lost wages if your neighbor damaged your bike and you couldn’t get to work. Conversion is an intentional tort consisting of "taking with the intent of exercising over the chattel an ownership inconsistent with the real owner's right of possession". Please try again. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. | Last updated December 04, 2018. All rights reserved. It applies when someone intentionally interferes with personal property belonging to another person. Search, recognizing intangible property as personal property, Amended Complaint for Negligence and Wrongful Death, Complaint for Personal Injury - Slip and Fall, Negligence and Personal Injury Questionnaire, Emotional Distress, Privacy, and Dignitary Torts, Substantially changes your property, like cutting down trees to use the wood in construction, Severely damages or misuses your property. In those jurisdictions that recognise it, criminal conversion is a lesser crime than theft/larceny. You may need to show a demand for the return of your property or reasonable compensation was made before filing your lawsuit.

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