Visitor Question

Excited Labs Cause Elderly Woman to Fall When Entering a Home…

Submitted By: Philip (Yakima, Washington)

During a birthday party 3 years ago at my wife’s sister’s house in Washington, one of my wife’s parents’ elderly friends was injured when she was entering the home.

The lady started to come in the front door, and as others were helping her up the steps (3 steps), my sister-in-law’s excited dogs (two large Labs) tried to run out the door. My wife tried to stop the dogs, which made my wife bump into the elderly lady, causing her to fall and injure herself.

This was strictly a no-fault accident. Now, 3 years later almost to the day, the lady’s daughter is trying to sue my wife and her sister. The reason seems to be because my sister’s home owners insurance is not paying, either soon enough or paying as much money as she feels she is owed.

My question is, can she do this? Can she sue my wife or her sister personally for what happened? How can they defend themselves against it? Thank you.

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 Philip,

Technically the injured woman can sue your wife and your sister-in-law. The statute of limitations in the State of Washington is 3 years. If the injured lady files her lawsuit within 3 years from the date of the injury the lawsuit will be valid.

If the injured woman filed her lawsuit after 3 years from the date of her injury the case can be dismissed by way of a Motion for Summary Judgment.

It’s altogether possible the injured woman filed her lawsuit not as an adversarial personal gesture, but only because she had to protect herself in case she is unable to settle her homeowner’s insurance claim.

Your wife’s actions were purely accidental. As a result, from the facts you present there doesn’t appear to be any negligence on her part. Even your sister-in-law doesn’t appear to have acted negligently. Hopefully that will be taken into consideration in the lawsuit.

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: April 17, 2013

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