One of the most common questions a person who has been injured on someone else’s property may have is whether the owner of the property can be held liable for the damages suffered. Unfortunately, in some cases in Connecticut there is no simple answer.
Everyone has likely heard a story of a home invader who got hurt while burgling a house suing the owner of the property under a claim of premises liability. It might be easy to presume that because the plaintiff was injured during the commission of a crime that such a suit should have no merit. But there are such cases on record.
The broad legal theory of premises liability states that an owner or residents of a property are liable for any accident or injury that occurs on a property. Depending on the laws of a given state, the court might take the status of the injured visitor into consideration when determining liability. But in others, the focus may be solely on what state the property was in at the time.
In other words, might anyone who entered the property for whatever reason have suffered a slip and fall injury on the premises? If so, a court might grant the alleged burglar’s right to pursue a claim.
In the hypothetical scenario presented above, the burglar would likely be considered a trespasser, rather than a visitor. He certainly would not be considered an invitee. However, Liability might still attach to the owner if it could be shown that the owner should have known that trespassers might encroach but failed to give reasonable warning of possible danger.
It is because of the complexities of this area of law that consulting an experienced attorney is always important.