This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

What Happens If You’re Injured While Shoplifting?

Question from Bob, What Happens If You’re Injured While Shoplifting?

Answer from AI:

When an individual is involved in shoplifting but gets injured on the property due to the store’s negligence, such as slipping on a wet floor without a warning sign, the situation becomes legally complex. It involves two separate legal issues: the criminal act of shoplifting and a potential personal injury claim against the store. Understanding the implications of both aspects is crucial.

Legal Implications of Shoplifting

Shoplifting is considered a criminal offense in the United States. The severity of the charge can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods and the state laws. Consequences can include fines, community service, probation, and possibly jail time.

Personal Injury Claims for Slip and Fall Accidents

If you slip and fall in a store due to the store’s negligence, such as not placing a “wet floor” sign, you might have a personal injury claim. Property owners and businesses have a duty to ensure their premises are safe for visitors. Failing to warn of hazards can be considered negligence.

Combining Shoplifting and Personal Injury Claims

When an individual who is shoplifting gets injured on the property, the situation becomes complicated. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Impact of Criminal Activity: Engaging in a criminal act, like shoplifting, can impact your ability to recover damages for your injuries. Some jurisdictions might reduce or deny your compensation if you were committing a crime at the time of the injury.
  • Comparative Negligence: Many states follow a comparative negligence rule, which means that if you are partly at fault for your injuries (e.g., by engaging in illegal activity), your compensation might be reduced by your percentage of fault.
  • Store’s Duty of Care: Despite the shoplifting, the store may still have a duty of care to maintain safe premises for all visitors, including those committing criminal acts. However, proving negligence and recovering damages can be more challenging.

Steps to Take

If you find yourself in this situation, consider the following steps:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the priority. Ensure you get the necessary medical treatment for your injuries.
  2. Consult a Legal Professional: Given the complexity of combining a criminal defense with a personal injury claim, consulting with a lawyer who has experience in both areas is crucial. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.
  3. Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your state’s laws regarding shoplifting penalties and personal injury claims. This knowledge can help you navigate your legal options more effectively.


Being involved in shoplifting does not automatically negate your rights to seek compensation for injuries due to a store’s negligence. However, the criminal act can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury claim. It’s essential to seek legal advice to understand the nuances of your case and to navigate the legal system effectively.

For more information on personal injury claims and comparative negligence, you can visit the American Bar Association’s resource on negligence and injury. Remember, this information is not legal advice, and consulting with a legal professional is recommended for guidance specific to your situation.

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