What is the difference between fraud and misrepresentation?

fraud and misrepresentationWhat is the difference between fraud and misrepresentation?

Technically, there isn’t one. Fraud is a type of misrepresentation. There is, however, a distinction between fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation.

In order to establish a claim of fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, also referred to as a “cause of action,” the Plaintiff must prove to the court that the following elements exist:

  1. Defendant made a false statement regarding a material fact;
  2. Defendant knew or should have known the representation was false;
  3. Defendant intended that the representation induce plaintiff to act on it; and
  4. Plaintiff suffered damages in justifiable reliance on the representation.

ALL of these elements must be met in order to prove a claim for fraud.

In order to establish a claim of misrepresentation, the Plaintiff must prove:

  1. Defendant made a false statement regarding a material fact;
  2. Defendant knew or should have known the representation was false;
  3. Defendant intended that the representation induce plaintiff to act on it; and
  4. Plaintiff suffered damages in justifiable reliance on the representation.

WAIT! THOSE ELEMENTS ARE THE SAME! Yes, that is true, but there is an understood distinction that the difference between fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation is the intent of the offender.

If the offender knew that the representation was false, especially if he had malicious intent, then the offense is most likely a fraudulent misrepresentation.

On the other hand, if the offender was unaware that the representation was false, even if he should have known it was false, then the offense is most likely negligent misrepresentation.

Misrepresentation and fraud cases can become very complicated very quickly, which is why it is important to speak with an experienced Florida litigation attorney regarding your situation as soon as possible.

There are pre-litigation steps that we at Boyer Law Firm, P.L. can take in order to mitigate some of the expenses of litigation, so contact us today if you believe you have a potential fraud and misrepresentation case.

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