If a burglar enters your home through a broken window, and slips on glass and breaks his leg while taking your television off of the wall, he or she may actually sue you for their injuries. As absurd as this truly sounds, it is something that has happened before. Some burglars have even won lawsuits against homeowners for this. Premise liability rules that vary by state, and some homeowners are actually liable for any injuries suffered or sustained on their property. Although the level of responsibility depends on the severity of the injury, the concept alone is enough to make any homeowner angry. So, this type of lawsuit is broken up into three groups. Invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
- Invitees are individuals that you as the homeowner invite onto your property for a specific purpose. Your pool boy, gardener, or maid are examples of this. Regarding invitees, you as the homeowner have the legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is safe for the invitee, even if they decide to steal from you and become injured doing so.
- Licensees are individuals who may enter your property with your consent. This includes a friend or family member. You as a homeowner must exercise reasonable care to protect licensees danger, even if they steal from you as well.
- Trespassers (including burglars) are individuals who do not have consent to be on a homeowners property. Homeowners typically do not have any obligations to protect trespassers from being injured, but in some rare cases they are held accountable.
The rare cases include a “known trespasser” situation,, booby traps, or deadly force. Known trespasser situations involve homeowners who see signs of a frequent trespasser but put up no signs to warn them of danger. This case has very strange loopholes and it is best to speak with an attorney to help clarify. Booby trap cases involve a homeowner willfully conducting traps to injure a burglar or trespasser. Deadly force cases occur when you use defend your property physically. You are only allowed to use deadly force when defending yourself.
Contact an Attorney
If you are ever sued by a burglar or any other type of trespasser for injuries that they suffered while on your property without your consent, you should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney for help such as the Personal Injury Lawyer Coeur d’Alene, ID locals trust. They can explain what your state’s rules are surrounding this type of lawsuit, what your rights are, and what to expect.
Thanks to authors at Injury in Idaho for their insight into Personal Injury Law.