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What type of Lawyer would I need to sue a thief?

Atlanta, GA |

I had a large amount of expensive equipment stolen from me ($90K), recently the police arrested the thief and he is now awaiting trial.

I would like to sue him for damages & losses. What type of Lawyer would I need?
I'm assuming it's best to wait until after the trial to sue?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Or, you can ask the prosecutor to ask for restituion. Provide a good list, appraisals if needed. Restituion has more teeth, gets set faster, and costs you nothing.

    After the plea or trial, you can decide if suing is worth the additional effort.

    We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


  2. You need an attorney that practices collections, civil litigation, or general civil law.

    There is definitely a benefit to waiting until after the trial. A finding of guilt in the criminal proceedings would make the issue of liability much easier to "prove" in a civil proceeding. However, waiting is not a necessity.

    The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.


  3. Just about any civil litigation lawyer could handle this case.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you may end up paying your lawyer more than you ever recover from the thief. You could get a verdict and judgment against the thief but the likelihood of collecting it is slim to none - unless the thief is worth a lot of money or owns property without mortgages on it.

    As mentioned in the other answer, you should ask the prosecutor handling the case to seek restitution. Then the thief would be required to repay you as part of his probation. Again, don't hold your breath on being repaid. Hopefully the police recovered the stolen equipment.

    While the prosecution would probably prefer that you wait until after the criminal trial to file suit, it really doesn't matter. If the thief pleads guilty, that would be admissible in your civil case as proof that the thief admitted stealing from you. However, a weird quirk of Georgia law is that if the thief goes to trial and a jury finds him guilty, that is inadmissible in your civil case.

    Depending on the circumstances of the theft and the type of insurance you have, you may be able to submit a claim to your insurance company for the stolen equipment.