Personal Injury

Asked over 6 years ago - Otsego, MI

My ex-boyfriends son got injured in my back yard while they lived with me. Infact they continued to live with me for 6 months after his injury! This was almost 3 years ago. I was unaware that anybody was playing outside at the time because I was in the bathroom being sick. The ex left his son out in the yard and left the house. Again I was unaware of what was going on. He is now suing me for 25,000.00 now. He has admitted to me that he is suing me now because I got married. However we are on welfare as I am the only provider for a 5 person family. My husband is a stay at home dad. WE ARE POOR!!!!! Does the ex have a chance at this?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Neil J. Lehto

    Contributor Level 7

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Generally, there is a 3-year statute of limitations for the child's parents to sue for most negligence (tort) actions in Michigan. (The child could sue when he or she reached age 18.)

    The owner or renter of real estate may be liable to person, including infants, injured on the property. It depends on exactly what happened? Was this a slip and fall? The fact that lived there for 6 months is relevant to what they level of negligence they will have to prove against you.

    The claim for $25,000 is minimum amount required in the case if it is filed in the local circuit court. How ,uch was the child injured?

    If you have owner's or renter's insurance, you should have referred this immediately to the insurance company.

    If you had no insurance, you should immediately have contacted a lawyer or filed a answer.

  2. Alexander Floyd Ransom

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Can your ex's lawsuit prevail? It depends. One question is whether the statute of limitations (SOL) has run out. In Washington, the SOL for filing a personal injury claim is three years. The time of the injury triggers the running of the statute. Here, your ex's claim falls within the three year SOL. Sorry! Another question is whether you are liable for general negligence. If so, your ex must prove you had a duty to care for the child, the duty was breached, that your breach caused the injuries, and that damages are recoverable. You have at least two defenses: (1) negligence is inapplicable because you had no duty to care for the child (you were unaware child was playing outside and father was gone), and (2) Joint and Several Liability (JSL). Under JSL, if two or more wrongful tort-feasors cause injury, then the injured party can take judgment against those defendants for the sum of their percentage at fault. Here, ex could assume a larger percentage of liability than you for the reasons described above. General liability aside, a third question is whether the child is a licensee, and if so, whether you are liable for the child's injuries. A licensee, such as a personal social guest, has express or implied permission to be on the premises for non-business purposes. Implied permission may apply to children if the landowner knows of their ongoing trespass/playing. You are liable to a licensee for damages from visible or known dangerous conditions. Proving you liable requires that it could reasonably be anticipated that the licensee will not discover the hazard or realize its risk. Your duty of care may usually be met by notifying the licensee of the known hazard by posting warning signs. Still, there is no duty to inspect for unknown dangers, and a "licensee takes the property as the possessor uses it." A fourth question - related to the third - is whther your backyard presented an "attractive nuisance" to the child. An attractive nuisance exists if the child was attracted to an artificial condition which is dangerous in itself and be young enough not to subjectively appreciate the risk and danger involved. The artificial condition must have been left exposed at a place where it is reasonable to expect children to play or satisfy natural youthful curiosity (for example, swimming in an unfenced/unguarded swimming pool. Here, since we have no idea how your ex's child was hurt, it is unknown whether an attractive nuisance theory exists. But if it does, you might be liable.
    As a procedural defense, CR 11 may assist you. Your ex's pleadings must be well grounded in fact and warranted by existing law and/or good faith arguments. If the pleadings are frivolous, Rule 11 sanctions may apply. Here, you mentioned your ex is suing you because you got married to another. That reasonaing lacks good faith and appears frivolous. Consequently, Rule 11 sanctions may apply to your ex's attorney.
    I hope this helps! Good luck.

  3. Jose Antonio Negroni

    Contributor Level 7

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The answer to this question depends on several things. First, how did the kid get hurt? Was he being supervised by his dad? Do you own or rent? Remember that in our country, you can pretty much sue for whatever amount you want. However, that does not mean you will necessarily get that amount. Just becasue they are suing you for $25k, doesn't mean they'll get it.

  4. Ruth Alane Mattson

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If you can get your ex to admit in writing that he is suing you because you got married, it might help your case out quite a bit! In Massachusetts, judges do not look kindly upon frivolous actions, meaning cases that are brought for revenge or to cause misery and not for the reasons described in the lawsuit.

    Unfortunately, if your ex has actually filed an action in a court then you probably will need to take the proper actions to follow through unless and until a judge dismisses the suit. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact your state and local bar associations to ask about free or low-cost legal services.

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