A criminal can bring a personal injury lawsuit against a crime victim. Whether the victim will be held liable for damages will depend on how the criminal was injured.
When a Criminal Can Sue
There are certain circumstances under which a criminal can successfully sue a victim for personal injuries.
Use of Deadly Force
In 2013, a man shot someone he found ransacking his house. The authorities sided with the shooter at first. After the medical examination showed that the criminal was shot in the back, the man was charged with murder.
Another man who was convicted of a crime sued the employees of the pizzeria he attempted to rob. He claimed he received unnecessarily rough treatment from the employees and suffered injuries as a result. A U.S. District judge had the option of tossing out the case against the pizzeria employees, but she allowed it to move forward.
These are just some of the cases that show criminals can be eligible for personal injury claims in intentional tort lawsuits. An intentional tort is any deliberate action that causes harm to people or property.
In most states, crime victims have a right to defend their lives by using deadly force. Nevertheless, the injuries or fatalities caused to criminals by using deadly force can result in successful suits by the criminals if the victims did not have a reason to believe their lives were in danger.
People are not allowed to set booby traps to injure criminals. These traps can include guns, ammunition, and explosive devices connected to triggering mechanisms, spikes, nails, sharpened stakes, electrical devices, wires or lines with hooks, and devices that produce toxic gases or fumes.
Although people can argue that setting up the traps is done in self-defense in case an intruder enters their property, they can find themselves facing legal action. Unwanted intruders can sue them for willful and wanton conduct that resulted in injuries.
A property owner has a duty of care to people who come onto his or her property to ensure safety while on the premises. In most cases, the duty of care does not extend to a criminal trespasser like a burglar because he or she has no lawful right or permission to be on the property. Therefore, the property owner will not be obligated to protect the trespasser from danger.
However, if there is a frequent trespasser on the property, and the property owner is aware of him or her, then the owner has a duty to warn the trespasser of the known dangers on his or her property.
The owner can be held liable for the frequent trespasser’s injuries caused by dangerous conditions on the property. The trespasser will need to prove that the unsafe condition was likely to cause serious bodily harm or death, and the landowner did not exercise his or her duty of care to warn of the risk present.
Criminals can sue victims and win in the circumstances above. Therefore, it is advisable for people to be familiar with the laws before taking drastic actions to defend themselves.