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Court rules son can sue father

Hunting parties often involve old friends and/or family members. There are occasional accidents and even the loss of life. Rarely is there discussion of filing a lawsuit against a hunting buddy.

A Minnesota man, however, fell out of deer hunting stand and broke both his legs in the 16-foot fall. The upshot of the story is that the stand located on family land was built by the injured man’s father. The son has brought a suit against his father to cover the $150,000 in medical bills incurred since the fall in 2012. The three-year court battle ended up before the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled that the man could sue his father.

Nothing personal

While some court battles tear families apart, this family has been able to separate their personal relationships from the court case. According to a recent news article, the father and son still get along great: “He is my dad. I love him,” said the plaintiff, who testified at the initial trial in Pine County District Court.

The man is suing his father because the state requires the plaintiff to sue the person who injures him instead of just suing the insurance company. So the son is suing the father (with the father’s blessing) hoping that liability insurance would cover the bill, which was run up after multiple surgeries. In fact, the father contacted a law firm on his son’s behalf to initiate the lawsuit.

The premise for the ruling hinges on the Minnesota state law that allows immunity to landowners who allow hunters to hunt on their land. In this case, the land was posted (no one is allowed to hunt) so that law does not protect the father from liability.

The case was first heard in District Court, where the plaintiff lost. He then won an appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2017. In June of 2018, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the Appeals Court ruling. The case will now start over with a new trial.

Applicable to Pennsylvania?

While its always interesting to read these types of stories. Pennsylvania has its own laws in regards falling out of a hunting stand. It is best to contact an attorney who handles personal injury suits here in the Keystone state to determine the best course of action for resolving the dispute with a potential settlement to cover medical expenses and other damages.