801-599-0691

Would We Take Harry and Marv’s Case?

ELI5: Negligence

Hits: 10

Did you wonder about whether or not the burglars in Home Alone could sue Kevin McCallister for their injuries? When it comes to Christmas movies, few millennials and older zoomers have escaped childhood without having the entire movie memorized. With iconic lines such as, “Look what you did, you little jerk!” and, “Kevin, you’re such a disease,” who couldn’t fall in love with the Christmas classic? While we all love Home Alone, personal injury attorneys typically harbor a special place in their hearts for this film.

WHAT IS PREMISES LIABILITY?

Premises liability refers to the idea that the property owner has a duty to keep the property safe for guests and visitors. If the property owner fails to take reasonable precautions in order to keep the premises safe for guests and visitors, and a guest becomes injured, the property owner could be liable for those injuries. Hazardous conditions need to be removed if the property owner wants to reduce their liability. If a hazardous condition isn’t able to be removed, the property owner needs to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their guests. This may mean blocking off areas where hazards exist. If you’ve seen Home Alone, you know that Kevin McCallister did anything but remove hazardous conditions. In fact, it could be argued that he added quite a few.

THOSE CLOWNS AREN’T GUESTS!

You may have noticed that property owners have a legal duty to keep their property safe for guests and implied invitees. But Harry and Marv aren’t guests or implied invitees. They’re trespassers! Although property owners aren’t required to keep their property safe for trespassers, they can’t rig up a home with booby traps if they know a trespasser is coming. If you know, or reasonably should know, that there’s danger, you may have a duty to prevent it by taking precautions that an ordinary person of reasonable prudence would take. What does that mean? Well, technically, it’s up to a jury to decide once and for all what precautions a reasonable person of ordinary prudence would take. However, you don’t want a jury analyzing your precautions and determining whether they’d meet such a standard. For that reason, we must advise that you don’t rig your house with booby traps to stop trespassers.

WHAT ABOUT AN ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE?

Attractive nuisance doctrine states that specific individuals may be lured onto a property by a dangerous attraction, such as an animal, land formation, or  recreational activity, and become injured. Since these specific individuals cannot anticipate the dangers of the aforementioned dangerous attraction, the property owner has a higher duty of care toward those people. So when these specific individuals are injured on someone’s property, the property owner is more likely to be liable. Who are these specific individuals? Well, they’re mostly children, though in rare circumstances adults may qualify for attractive nuisance doctrine, especially if they’re on the property to rescue a child from dangerous conditions. Though Harry and Marv were lured onto the property by the promise of obtaining shiny things, it may be difficult to argue that attractive nuisance doctrine applies to Harry and Marv because they’re both adults who should be able to appreciate the danger of breaking into a home. This doesn’t mean the McCallisters aren’t liable for the injuries Harry and Marv sustained. Instead, it just means that they may have a difficult time arguing that the residence was an attractive nuisance.

CAN YOU SUE AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD?

You cannot sue a person under the age of 18. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get compensation for injuries a child causes. If the negligent party is under the age of 18, the injured party would have to file a claim against the children’s parents, not the child. This is because, legally speaking, children don’t own anything. So, even if Harry and Marve wanted to file a claim for their injuries, they’d probably have to file a claim against Kevin’s parents as opposed to Kevin himself. And, even if Harry and Marv won their personal injury claim, there’s a good chance that the homeowners’ insurance would pay, not the McCallisters.

OUR FINAL ANSWER IS…

Although we sure wouldn’t want to defend Kevin McCallister in court, we do have some concerns with Harry and Marv’s case. First, it could be argued that they have some liability in their case. Utah allows for apportioned liability, meaning that multiple parties could share fault, including the plaintiff. Since Harry and Marve may also be at fault, they’re already less attractive clients. Furthermore, we also have concerns about jury sympathies when it comes to representing burglars. After all, who doesn’t root for Kevin when Marv is hit in the face with an iron? As much as we love Home Alone, we’re not sure we love this case.

Six Ways to Stay Safe During Surgery

by | Jan 19, 2023 | blog,Medical Malpractice,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Tips from the best medical malpractice attorneys in Utah  Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional makes a mistake that injures a patient. But not...

Are Employers Responsible for What Their Employees Do?

by | Jan 10, 2023 | Premises Liability,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

When injuries occur while at work, some wonder whether or not their employers can be held responsible for their injuries. Though a worker’s compensation claim will...

Five Safety Tips for Driving During a Storm

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

 Many states see an increase in reckless driving during the summer months because the roads offer the perfect driving conditions. However, the same cannot be said...

I’m Being Sued for a Car Accident. What Now?

by | Jan 3, 2023 | Auto Accidents,Car Accident,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Let’s say you’ve been in a car crash and it’s been determined that you’re the at-fault party. As if that isn’t stressful enough, you’ve just been informed that you’re...

Is that New Fad Diet a Liability?

by | Dec 29, 2022 | Educational,Empowerment,Product Liability,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

New year, new you, new fad diet. We see them all the time but not every fitness plan is safe. In fact there are many people who are marketing a diet plan that could be...

Can You Be Sued for Shooting a Trespasser?

by | Dec 27, 2022 | Educational,Premises Liability,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

If you’ve watched Home Alone, you’ve perhaps thought about taking the law into your own hands, vigilante style. Though Home Alone has a special place in the hearts of...

Protect Your Home (from Lawsuits) This Holiday

by | Dec 22, 2022 | Educational,Safety,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

If you’re like most people, you get the warm and fuzzies when a joyful group of Christmas carollers show up at your doorstep to bring you a little holiday cheer....

ELI5: What’s a Lawsuit?

by | Dec 15, 2022 | blog,ELI5 - Explain like I'm 5,Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

A lot of people believe that lawsuits are magical proceedings that make one party filthy rich while bankrupting the other party. Thus, the announcement, “I’m suing!”...

Would We Take Harry and Marv’s Case?

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Texas Law,Utah Law | 0 Comments

Did you wonder about whether or not the burglars in Home Alone could sue Kevin McCallister for their injuries? When it comes to Christmas movies, few millennials and...