The following blog article was written for Webb Law Group, APC. It has been edited for length and content for this blog.

According to California law, negligent misrepresentation occurs when someone makes certain representations with no reason to believe that they were true. As far as the law is concerned, a “misrepresentation” is any statement that, under certain circumstances, would be considered to be false, erroneous, or not based in fact.

Failure to exercise reasonable care when supplying information that could significantly impact one’s life is cause to validate negligent misrepresentation. In other words, when someone makes a false statement and honestly believes that it is true, but does so without reasonable grounds for such belief, he or she may be liable for negligent misrepresentation – a form of deceit.

Therefore, while not all claims purport that the acting party was engaging in intentional deception or misrepresentation, the fact remains that this misrepresentation may have occurred. Additionally, this misrepresentation of vital information caused direct or indirect harm to the plaintiff or plaintiffs involved.

The Elements of Negligent Misrepresentation:

(1) a misrepresentation of a past or existing material fact;

(2) made without reasonable ground for believing it to be true;

(3) made with the intent to induce another’s reliance on the fact misrepresented;

(4) justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation; and  

(5) resulting damage.” (Ragland v. U.S. Bank National Assn. (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 182, 196.)

Intentional Vs. Negligence

Understandably, California law recognizes a distinction between negligent misrepresentation and intentional misrepresentation. Claims of negligent misrepresentation require a defendant to believe the representation is true but without reasonable grounds for such belief. Inversely, claims of intentional misrepresentation state that a defendant made false representations with no reasonable grounds for such a belief. Such an act would constitute actual fraud under California law. Naturally, forms of fraudulent misrepresentation are taken much more seriously. Frequently claims of this nature hold those responsible to higher standards. Claims can involve much higher financial and criminal consequences.

Negligent misrepresentation involves businesses and individuals that claim to provide certain skills, expertise, or guarantees, however, for various reasons, they cannot fully follow through with these claims on their end. Often times, the person or company at fault carelessly represent themselves in some way. However, as stated before, misrepresentation is not as intentional as outright fraud. Intentional misrepresentation occurs when the instigator shows a reckless disregard for the truth of the matter. They purposefully provide information that is false with intent to deceive and harm another party; usually for financial gain.

In a recent case Webb Law Group brought against Lincoln Military Housing, claims of negligent misrepresentation were cited. This occurred as a result of employed representatives mishandling the elimination of toxic molds from a military family’s home. The family was lead to believe that the problems had been handled properly, as any reasonable tenant would have. Meanwhile, the root cause of the mold and air quality were not properly addressed. Ultimately, this negligent misrepresentation of safety caused physical and emotional harm to the families. Additionally, the defendant’s negligence leads to long term financial repercussions and emotional distress to their family members.

Are You in Need of Legal Advice?

If you believe you’re entitled to compensation for the negligent misrepresentation of facts, contact Webb Law Group. Our team of attorneys can answer your questions about negligent misrepresentation law. We will let you know if you may have a case against the person or party acting on their behalf who caused you emotional, physical, or financial harm.

Having a reputable attorney by your side for matters of this nature will offer you the best possible chance of navigating the legal process and mounting a claim of negligent misrepresentation. If you feel that you need legal representation, we are happy to review your legal needs and provide consultation and support where necessary. For questions, or to schedule a consultation, contact Webb Law Group today at 559-431-4888 (Fresno) or 619-399-7700 (San Diego).

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