It’s concerning for most homeowners to think about someone breaking into their home. While that invasion of privacy would be damaging enough, what happens when thieves hurt themselves in the process of robbing you? In some cases, a thief can sue a homeowner for damages. Here’s how to protect yourself.
An unwanted visitor invading your personal space is enough to make even the nicest person cringe. While it’s unsettling if that person hurts themselves while on your property, you may be in for more than just losing your electronics and jewelry.
Issues like an icy driveway or an unblocked hole that cause personal injury can be grounds for a lawsuit. The result is a court appearance and possibly being responsible for your thief’s medical bills. A sue-happy individual could also come after you for mental anguish and time off work due to the unforeseen injury!
Dog Bites and Booby Traps
If a thief steps on your property and your dog goes after them, you are likely responsible for the injuries accrued during the attack. A trip to the ER, rabies shot and wound care could cost you or your homeowner’s insurance a few hundred dollars or more. If you set up trip wires, electric fences or other booby traps on your property to thwart trespassers and someone gets hurt, they could sue you for that too.
The Thief Has Already Been Invited In
Another instance where you could get sued is when you willingly invite a guest into your home, but they end up stealing from you during their visit. If, during that process, they hurt themselves while on your property, you may be liable for their injury-related medical bills — even though they were stealing from you.
Putting Safeguards in Place
The good news is, you can protect yourself. Start with no trespassing signs to make people question entering into your property uninvited. Protective fences and a solid security system could also thwart a would-be robber. Recognize safety hazards, such as any holes in the yard or other injury-causing areas, and set up a barrier to keep everyone safe, not just trespassers. Make sure that your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is up-to-date and covers personal loss and injury.
If you have a situation where someone has broken in or damaged your personal property, call law enforcement right away to file a report. From there, seek legal counsel to protect yourself in the event you’re served with a subpoena or judgment. The last thing you want is to be a victim twice.