Nobody wants to have to use a firearm to defend his or herself, family, home, or possessions, but that’s why many gun owners have them. If you’re put in the position and must use your firearm for protection, you may need further protection after the fact from legal fees and lawsuits.
Crazy scenarios of perpetrators suing homeowners who shot them in self-defense actually happen — even if they aren’t the norm. This past year in Indiana, a convicted burglar tried to sue the homeowner whose house he broke into for damage two years after he committed the crime. Perhaps even more noteworthy in this case is that the homeowner was also charged for criminal recklessness in the original shooting.
In another case a few years ago, the drug addict who broke into a 90-year-old man’s home and tied him up is suing the man. The homeowner got loose and shoot the drug addict, and the robber shot the man in return with both men ending up in the hospital as a result of their injuries. As ridiculous as it sounds, the homeowner was prepared to pay an attorney to defend his case.
As crazy and abnormal as these incidents and civil charges sound, the truth is if you use your firearm for protection, you could enter into a legal situation. You’re likely to face legal fees and time off work to get through the case. Any citizen who uses a gun to protect him or herself or her or his property could be subject to an investigation and a criminal trial — even if no charges are brought — and would likely need to appear as a defendant. In addition to criminal trials, when someone uses a firearm, civil trials can result and self-defense is not covered under typical homeowners insurance policies. Firearm owners can face considerable legal costs and other expenses, including
- defense fees,
- bail bonds,
- income loss from time off work, and
- monetary payment in a civil trial loss.
If you own a firearm for protection, you should own liability insurance, too. Don’t protect your family only to suffer income loss and legal expense consequences that can burden you and your family for years to come.