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Are Booby Traps Legal in New York?

Your dog runs away one morning because your child forgets to latch the gate. You go looking for it, and you wind up on your neighbor’s property. To your surprise, they’ve set up booby traps to stop potential burglars, and you inadvertently get injured while simply looking for your dog.

While you’re in the hospital recovering, your neighbor reiterates that they just set these up to stop burglars, which they think is fine. But are they right? Is it legal to set booby traps on your own property? Can you set a trap for burglars?

An Introduction to Booby Trap Law in New York

What is a booby trap? A booby trap is a concealed device designed to surprise, harm, or entrap unsuspecting individuals. It’s typically set up with the intention of injuring or killing whoever triggers it. Booby traps can take various forms. It could be extreme as guns, ammunition, or explosive devices attached to trip wires or other triggering mechanisms sharpened stakes and lines or wires with hooks attached. Booby traps have been used for different purposes throughout history, including warfare, and hunting. Landowners commonly use a trap to protect their property. 

It is usually a concealed or camouflaged device. Its purpose is to inflict bodily injury when triggered. No wonder there are trap laws protecting victims from the deadly force of these devices. 

Injured by a Booby Trap? New York Law Says You Could Sue. 

The truth is that booby traps are illegal and the person who sets them is usually liable for any injuries that they cause. This camouflaged device designed to create serious injuries was somewhere you could step on it. In this case, that means you may be able to easily sue to recover lost wages, the cost of medical bills and much more. 

It does not matter that you were technically trespassing when you got injured. It does not matter that your neighbor intended to use the traps against people who were trying to break into their house. While in-the-moment self-defense is certainly legal, your neighbor could even be liable for injuring an actual burglar with the booby traps. These are just too great of a danger to the public and they cannot be used in this manner, regardless of intent. 

What To Do After Being Injured by a Booby Trap

First and foremost, you need to get medical help as soon as possible. It’s important not to move, as booby traps are meant to stop the action of any unsuspecting person or animal. Usually, they have something to prevent the trapped from escaping. In the event of explosive devices going off, you want to make sure you put out any fires on your person or around you. 

After seeking proper medical care and being in a stable position, it’s time to meet with an attorney. They will advise you if you should move forward with suing the property owner. If you do have a case, they will assist with getting any security system footage or other evidence to use in negotiations. 

 Your injuries have put you through a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering, and they’ve caused you to need expensive medical treatment. You may be able to seek compensation for all of this, and you need to know exactly what legal options you have.