When a Trespasser Sues You

ELI5: Negligence

Can you think of anything more infuriating than being sued by someone trespassing on your property? Maybe you’ve even heard those aggravating tales of burglars suing for personal injury after they were injured breaking into someone’s store or home. Though these lawsuits seem petty and frivolous, some trespassers do have legitimate claims. And, in these cases, the burglars and trespassers don’t always lose. There are several circumstances in which burglars and trespassers can sue you for personal injury and win.


When a Trespasser Sues You

If the idea of a burglar suing you after slipping on a puddle in your kitchen makes you angry, you’re not alone. Though, you are responsible for keeping your home safe for invitees, licensees, and guests, you are not responsible for keeping your home safe for trespassers. So if a burglar slips on a puddle, or trips over an object on the floor, you are not likely to be found responsible for their injuries.


If you notice footprints around your home or other signs of attempted break-ins, it may be tempting to set up traps to catch the trespasser. However, just because you aren’t responsible for protecting trespassers, that doesn’t mean you can rig your home like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone. Setting up snares can expose you to liabilities beyond your wildest imagination: do not set up traps in hopes of doling out justice. Otherwise, you may find yourself as the defendant in a criminal case.


When a Trespasser Sues You

You may also find yourself on the wrong side of a court case when the trespasser was a child. This typically occurs when your property contains an attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance is defined by Cornell Law as, “a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.” An attractive nuisance can be slides, swing sets, a pool, and animals—even trampolines can be an attractive nuisance. If an attractive nuisance causes a child injury on your property, you may be liable for their injuries even if they were trespassing.


A lot of people mistakenly believe that they are allowed to use deadly force whenever a trespasser enters their home. However, this is not necessarily the case; Utah’s laws surrounding burglars and deadly force are nebulous at best. Though you are able to use deadly force when your life is threatened (self-defense), you are not legally permitted to use deadly force to protect your personal property. This means you cannot shoot a burglar in order to protect your computer or television.


When a Trespasser Sues You

When home invasions result in injury, it’s most likely the victims who are injured. If you were injured when someone decided to break into your home, Moxie Law Group is here for you. Facing the consequences of someone else’s criminal behavior is an incredibly frustrating and unfair experience. This is especially true when another person’s illegal activities have caused you physical and psychological damage. At Moxie Law Group, we’re dedicated to protecting the injured. If you have been injured during a home invasion, give us a call to find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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