The state Supreme Court has ruled that an Indiana man can sue his father for leg injuries he suffered when his father drove into him.
An Adams County judge initially threw out Robert Clark Jr.’s lawsuit, citing Indiana’s guest law, which says a driver isn’t liable for injuries to certain family members if they are being transported without payment, unless the injury is the result of willful misconduct.
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed that decision, and the state Supreme Court upheld the appellate ruling in a 3-2 decision Monday.
The court said Clark can proceed with his suit accusing his father, Robert Clark Sr., of negligence in the September 2007 incident, The Journal Gazette reports.
Robert Clark Jr. was injured when he exited a vehicle his father was driving and stood in front of the car, where he motioned for his father to pull into a parking space. Once his father pulled into the spot, Clark signaled his father to stop. But instead of stopping, Clark Sr. allegedly accelerated, pinning his son between two cars.
The core of the argument was whether the son was “in or upon the motor vehicle,” as worded in the state law.
The Indiana Court of Appeals said the son clearly had exited the vehicle when he was struck, so the law doesn’t apply.