Can You Sue Someone for Breaking Into Your Car?

can you sue someone for breaking into your car

When someone breaks into your car, it causes physical damage and leaves you with a sense of violation and financial loss. It’s a distressing experience that can lead to questions about legal recourse: 

Can you sue someone for breaking into your car? While the state typically pursues criminal charges against the perpetrator, civil lawsuits are also a viable option for victims seeking compensation for their losses. 

Here’s an in-depth look at the legal avenues available if someone has unlawfully entered your vehicle.

Firstly, it’s important to distinguish between the criminal and civil aspects of a car break-in. Criminally, breaking into a vehicle is often charged as burglary or theft, depending on the jurisdiction. These are actions typically handled by the police and the prosecutor’s office. The offender is punished according to the law, which may include jail time or fines.

However, the criminal justice system does not always address the victim’s financial losses directly. This is where civil law comes into play, allowing you to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator to recover damages.

Basis for Civil Lawsuits

  1. Trespass to Chattels

Trespass to chattels is a tort law principle that might be invoked when someone unlawfully interferes with your personal property—your car, in this instance. 

To succeed in a lawsuit based on this claim, you must demonstrate that the perpetrator intentionally and physically interfered with your vehicle, leading to damages. This could include broken windows, damaged locks, or any physical harm to the car.

  1. Conversion

Conversion is another relevant legal concept, similar to trespass to chattels but more severe. It involves an unauthorized assumption of control that seriously interferes with your right to possess your property. 

If the intruder stole your car or any items of significant value within it, you could claim conversion. The key here is proving that the defendant’s actions deprived you of your property in a manner akin to theft.

Can I Sue for a Car Break-In?

Yes, you can pursue legal action against the individual who broke into your car. In Nevada, victims of car break-ins have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator to seek compensation for damages. 

To build a strong case, you will need to provide evidence that the defendant unlawfully entered your vehicle and caused harm. This may include eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, or other relevant documentation supporting your insurance claim.

Having an experienced lawyer by your side can be invaluable in this process. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities of your case, gather crucial evidence, and present a compelling argument in court. 

Additionally, a lawyer can advise you on the potential outcomes of your lawsuit and help you understand your rights throughout the related legal proceedings. By seeking legal guidance, you can increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for the losses and damages you have suffered due to the car break-in.

Steps to Take After a Car Break-In

After a car break-in, it’s essential to take immediate action to protect your rights:

  1. Secure the scene and ensure your safety.

  2. Call and file a police report. Obtain a copy of the report for your records.

  3. Contact your car insurance company to report the break-in and understand your coverage.

  4. Document the damages and stolen valuable items, if any, with photos or videos.

After experiencing a car break-in, it’s crucial to act swiftly and methodically to protect your rights and increase the likelihood of recovering damages. Here’s a detailed guide on the steps to take:

  1. Secure the Scene and Ensure Your Safety: Upon discovering the break-in, ensure your safety by checking for any potential intruders still present in the vicinity. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to a well-lit area and away from any potential dangers.

  2. Call and File a Police Report: Contact the local law enforcement agency immediately to report the break-in. Provide them with as much detail as possible, including the date, time, and location of the crime. Be prepared to provide a list of any personal items that were stolen or damaged.

  3. Obtain a Copy of the Police Report: Request a copy of the police report for your records. This document will be essential when filing an insurance claim or pursuing lawful action against the perpetrator.

  4. Contact Your Car Insurance Company: Notify your car insurance company of the break-in as soon as possible. Provide them with the details of the crime and inquire about your comprehensive coverage for damages and stolen items. Be sure to document the name of the representative you speak with and any information provided.

  5. Document Damages and Stolen Items: Take detailed photographs or videos of any damages to your vehicle, as well as any items that were stolen. This documentation will serve as crucial evidence when filing an insurance claim or pursuing lawful action.

  6. Review Your Insurance Policy: Review your car insurance policy to understand the extent of your coverage for damages and stolen items. If you have comprehensive coverage, it may help cover the costs of repairs and replacements.

  7. Consider Additional Security Measures: In light of the break-in, consider implementing additional security measures to protect your vehicle in the future. This may include installing a car alarm, parking in well-lit areas, or using a steering wheel lock.

Why Do You Need An Attorney For Car Break-In:

Navigating the aftermath of a car break-in can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding and asserting your legal rights. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process. They can help you understand the complexities of the legal system, including any statutes of limitations or other deadlines that may affect your case.

One of the key roles of an attorney is to gather evidence to support your claim. This may include obtaining surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing police reports. By thoroughly investigating the circumstances of the break-in, an attorney can build a strong case on your behalf.

Additionally, an attorney can negotiate your claims with insurance companies or the defendant’s legal team to ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses. Insurance companies may try to minimize the value of your claim or deny it altogether, but an attorney can advocate for your rights and work to secure the best possible outcome for you.

Overall, having an attorney by your side can provide peace of mind and assurance that your case is being handled professionally and effectively. They can help you navigate the complexities of the legal process and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

can you sue someone for breaking into your car

Suing someone for breaking into your car is a complex legal process that requires careful consideration and the guidance of an experienced attorney. By understanding your legal rights and options, you can take the necessary steps to seek justice and compensation for your losses. Remember, you don’t have to face this difficult situation alone. Seek legal advice to protect your rights and navigate the legal process effectively.

If you’ve been a victim of a car break-in and are considering lawful action, contact The Bourassa Law Group, LLC today for a consultation. Our experienced attorneys can provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need to pursue your case.


Can I sue the person who broke into my car?

Yes, you can sue the person who broke into your car to pay for damages. In Nevada, victims of car break-ins have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator to seek compensation for losses and damages incurred.

What damages can I sue for?

You can sue for various damages, including the cost of repairs to your vehicle, the value of any stolen items, and any other financial losses directly resulting from the break-in.

Do I need evidence to sue?

Yes, evidence such as police reports, photos of the damages, and documentation of stolen items can strengthen your case or civil claim. Eyewitness testimonies and surveillance footage can also be helpful.

Can I sue if the perpetrator was not caught?

Yes, you can still sue for damages even if the perpetrator was not caught or identified. However, having the perpetrator caught and convicted can strengthen your defense attorney in car theft case.

Should I contact my insurance company before suing?

Yes, it’s important to contact the auto insurance company to report the break-in and understand your coverage. However, you can still pursue legal action against the perpetrator even if you have insurance coverage.

How long do I have to sue after a car break-in?

In Nevada, for example, the statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit for property damage, including car break-ins, is typically two years from the date of the incident. It’s important to consult with an attorney to understand your specific legal options and deadlines.

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