Should I expect a lawsuit for accidentally causing someone to fall over?

UPDATED: May 26, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Should I expect a lawsuit for accidentally causing someone to fall over?

During a local community function, my 18 month old daughter ran out the front door of the community center, toward the parking lot. A young mentally and physically disabled man was in the doorway holding the door open and blocking the exit. As I attempted to get by him, I pushed the door, causing him to lose his balance and fall. After catching my daughter, I assisted him to his feet and he stated he was ok. During the night, he walked around the center many times and I checked on him multiple times. Each time he stated he was ok. Should I fear a lawsuit?

Asked on May 26, 2012 under Personal Injury, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You likely do not need to fear liability:

1) First, someone is not liable (or financially responsible) simply because some action of theirs injured another. Rather, to be liable, one must have acted either intentionally wrongfully (deliberately caused the injury) or at least negligently (unreasonably carelessly). What is "negligent" is judged by the "reasonable person" standard--what would a reasonable person do in a like situation. It is almost certainly the case that there was nothing unreasonable or negligent about trying to catch up with a toddler running for a parking lot, even if that meant having to push past someone who was blocking the doorway. From what you write, you acted in the way any reasonable parent or guardian would have acted.

2) Even if you had been negligent, you can only be sued for actual injuries, economic losses, and medical costs directly caused by your act. If your pushing the man did not injure him in any significant way or require medical attention, there is nothing you could be sued for.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption