Personal injury claims aren’t always limited to physical injury cases. Person injury includes any harm done to another person’s body, property, credit, or rights. In theory, you can pursue a personal injury case for almost anything that has injured you, whether it is a slip-and-fall or a defamation case, as long as you can prove that there are a significant amount of damages.
Suing for damage to your credit report is a relatively recent legal phenomenon but is becoming increasingly more and more a reality since 2002 when Alan Sporn, a California Business man, successfully sued Home Depot for lowering his credit score by running no less than 12 hard credit inquiries on Sporn. It turned out that Sporn was a victim of identity theft and an unknown individual was attempting to use Spron’s identity to open a Home Depot credit card. When Sporn realized what was happening, he personally called Home Depot to tell them to stop but Home Depot did it again.
Spron contacted an attorney who advised him to try and find how much the credit inquiries had cost him. Spron, who was trying to refinance his home at the time this was taking place, contacted an independent credit evaluator who was able to prove Sporn’s case. The case settled for more than $1.3 million dollars. Unfortunately, finding an attorney who handled credit damage is difficult and getting a settlement like Sporn is even harder. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you believe your credit has been unfairly damaged.
- Do you have a cause of action? The other party has to do something that was specifically illegal, malicious, or infringed on your rights. For example, a wrongful reporting of delinquent credit activity or even a divorce, wrongful termination, or other event which prevents you from paying your bills on-time and adversely affecting your credit.
- Have you been harmed by this? Damaged from nonmonetary losses like loss of time, emotional distress, etc. is only one of the factors that must be proven in the State of North Carolina. You also have to prove that monetary damage has been done, like out-of-pocket expenses from a higher interest rate.
- Have you tried to fix the problem on your own? In North Carolina, you must try and fix the problem on your own. In Sporn’s case, he contacted Home Depot personally and told them to stop. Sending letters via Certified Mail is preferable so that you have a record of your attempts to correct the problem.
- How good was your credit to start? If your credit was already mediocre to poor, you may not be able to prove your case.
If you believe you have a personal injury claim based on unfair credit practices, speak to an attorney who can determine your rights for you. There’s no harm in contacting an attorney, most consultations for personal injury are free of charge.