Visitor Question

Dog Jumps Up And Injures Guest…

Submitted By: Jennifer (Warren, MI)

My dog jumped up on my father-in-law while he was playing with the dog. It caused him to fall and hit his side against our picnic table. The fall caused our father-in-law to fracture a few of his ribs.

Can he sue us or will he sue the homeowner’s insurance company?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Jennifer,

Why would your father in law sue you?

The absurdity of the premise is confounding. Sure he can sue you. Why not? Don’t fathers in law always sue their child’s spouse?

Once again we are confronted with what we in the United State have become. We are the most litigious society in the World.

People file lawsuits about as often as they brush their teeth.

If he broke some ribs and as a result incurred some medical bills, then give him the name of your homeowners insurance company along with their telephone and policy numbers.

Once he contacts the insurance company a Claims Adjuster will be assigned to the case. She will initiate a formal investigation of the circumstances leading to the injury. She will probably contact you first, and then your father in law. Each time she will ask for a telephonic recorded statement. You have to cooperate with your insurance company or they may choose not to pay the claim.

The investigation will also seek information which might support contributory negligence. That means the adjuster will want to know if your father in law contributed to the accident. Was he drinking alcohol, taking drugs, whether legal or illegal, or other similarly contributing factors?

Then the adjuster will want to see the medical bills upon which she can support paying the claim. Without medical bills the adjuster and her insurance company have nothing to base their payment upon.

If there is no contributory negligence, and your father in law has incurred medical bills, the claims adjuster will probably authorize payment.

The payment will probably be not much more than the actual amount of the medical bills, as there is no indication he missed any work or had to pay out of his pocket any amounts for anything other than medical bills.

Of course, you then will be left with a “mark” on your insurance policy. That means there is always a possibility your rates may increase.

Let’s all hope he decides blood is thicker than money.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 31, 2011

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