Neighbor Accidentally Shoots Your House – What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover? MN Attorney

Injured On Someone's Property
Injured In Gun Accident MN Lawyers


Friends of ours were recently visiting their relatives in St. Cloud, MN for the holidays. At about midnight one night, they were in the kitchen when they heard something that sounded like an explosion. They looked around thinking it was a jar of food that exploded, but what they found was a bullet hole. The next-door neighbor was cleaning his handgun, and the gun accidentally went off. The bullet went through a wall of the neighbor’s house, through the wall at the house our friends were visiting, into the kitchen, ricocheted at least once, gouged the granite counter-top, and then lodged in a wall. There were about five people in the kitchen, and amazingly no one was hit!

Our friends wanted to know whose homeowners insurance would pay for the damage, and what would have happened if someone was hurt in this gun accident? The answer provided by our lawyer is that the person who fired the gun SHOULD be responsible. However, in this case the person with the gun was renting the house and did not have homeowners insurance. It would be unlikely that the owner of the rented house and his insurance could be responsible under Minnesota law because the owner of the house did not fire the gun. Therefore, the homeowner’s insurance of the house our friends were visiting will pay for the damage, because that property damage is covered by their policy. Unfortunately, the homeowner will still have to pay their $1,000 deductible. Can they get the deductible back from the neighbor who shot the gun? They can try. Their insurance company can sue the neighbor whose gun accidentally went off for reimbursement too. The problem will be trying to collect from the renter who owned the gun.

What would happen if our friends had been injured in this accident –would there be any compensation available to them for a gun accident? Unfortunately, neither the homeowners insurance covering the owner of the house where the renting neighbor shot the gun, nor the insurance for the house where our friends were visiting, would likely cover a gun injury in this situation.  Our lawyers have been frustrated by this situation many times. As mentioned above, the person who would have actually caused the injury has no homeowners insurance and would be hard to collect from after being sued. The homeowner’s insurance of the house our friends were visiting will only cover injuries if their insured (the homeowner) caused the injury. Because it was the neighbor that caused the shooting accident, there is no insurance claim. Our friends’ own homeowners insurance would also not be responsible for paying any compensation, because it pays only for injuries our friends CAUSE, not injuries that happen to them. Our friends’ health insurance WOULD cover their medical bills, but there would be nothing for loss of earnings or disfigurement if one of them was hit in the head or lost an eye. Fortunately no one was hurt in this case and an attorney did not need to get involved.

If you or a family member is injured in a gun accident in Minnesota, call our office for a free consultation with an attorney. The initial investigation is very important, and especially getting good photographs, saving evidence, and contacting witnesses. Our lawyers know what we will need later and it can be very helpful if we can get involved early. We are Minnesota personal injury attorneys and our lawyers have more than 25 years’ experience successfully handling hundreds of cases. The initial consultation is free, and we only charge based on a percentage of the compensation you receive.

Pam Rochlin previously was a partner at Meshbesher and Spence where she gained big firm experience, and is now happy to provide small firm attention for all types of injury accidents. A lawyer can meet you to discuss a gun accident injury case at our offices in Minneapolis, Edina, Woodbury, and St. Louis Park. We also meet people at their homes in many surrounding cities including Eden Prairie, Richfield, Chaska, Chanhassen, Apple Valley, Rogers, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Center, St. Paul, and other cities throughout Minnesota.