Victims of identity theft wake up one day and shockingly discover their lives in financial chaos. Identity theft is a civil harm, so filing a lawsuit against an identity thief opens a portal for recovering losses. A personal injury attorney who has experience with identity theft law may point out the thief may not be the only party who can be sued. Companies dealing with the public have a duty to guard private sensitive data. Any lapses in maintaining the proper level of security are potential acts of negligence.

The Task of Proving Negligence

Proving a business was at-fault or lax is going to be the core argument of the lawsuit. Simply because personal information was stolen by a third party does not automatically mean the entity housing the information was negligent. Thus, an attorney is going to examine several areas of potential lapses to show a bank, retail store, online seller, or other entity was negligent.

An Outside Job Example - Failure to Secure Network and Databases

Breaches of security in the computer network is a common way sensitive personal and financial data is stolen. Even the highest end security systems are vulnerable to skilled and trained hackers. Companies that fail to remain diligent in terms of boosting protection, however, contribute to the compromises of data. Examples of contributory negligence include:

  • Not upgrading the security system in the network.
  • Failing to call in help desk or IT services when breaches occur.
  • Not responding timely after the discovery of a breach.

Businesses have a major responsibility to care for sensitive data. In the aftermath of the notorious "Christmas credit card breach", the Target chain was forced into a $10 million settlement due to its lack of computer security.

An Inside Job Example - Not Effectively Screening Employees

Identity theft can be an inside job, which is why businesses entrusted with sensitive information must make sure employees meet certain requirements. Companies should perform appropriate drug screening and background checks on employees who handle sensitive data. Cutting corners with employee screenings could be deemed negligence if the employee contributes in any way to theft of identity.

Doing Your Part - Speak to an Attorney

Upon discovering you are a victim of identity theft, contact an attorney immediately. There may be complexities associated with the case you are unaware of.

One unfortunate case saw an identity theft suit dismissed because the statute of limitations expired. To avoid such a disastrous outcome, be sure to monitor your credit and financial activity to so you know of any identity theft as quickly as possible. The sooner you know, the quicker you are able to act appropriately.