Am I liable if my dog scared an old man who fell down and now 3 months out of the blue he’s asking me to pay for his knee surgery?

I have a big dog and he dragged me off my bike while trying to say hello to the old man and his dog. It was certainly rude of my dog to do that but the man had no reason to back away if he had known dog body language. My dog was not barking or growling or anything. The man backed up too far and tripped and fell down a hill. My dog didn’t touch him. I helped him up, offered to take him to the hospital but he refused and said he was okay. I heard nothing from him for 3 months and now he’s called me up and said he had hurt his knee in the fall and needs me to pay for the knee surgery. I don’t know what to do.

Asked on August 13, 2012 under Personal Injury, Minnesota


Leigh Anne Timiney / Timiney Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This sounds like a very weak case.  First, your dog technically did not cause his injury.  In fact your dog never touched him.  Second, it sounds like you have been given no proof that this man actually suffered a knee injury as a result of this fall.  Three months have gone by and there could be many other explanations for his knee injury or it could be pre-existing.  It sounds like your liability here is very weak.  

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