There are any number of ways in which a horse might be involved in an accident that results in an injury to a person. In order to claim compensation, your accident has to have been at least partly someone else’s fault.
Set out below are some of the main causes of accidents involving horses and how blame might be established through negligence, The Animals Act, and various workplace or road traffic laws.
Working with horses
Your employer has to take reasonable steps to ensure your health and safety in your work with horses so we would need to examine whether or not they did in your case.
Head of Personal Injury, Partner Neille Ryan has advised on several cases involving escaped animals. The onus is on the owner to take reasonable measures to ensure that the horse cannot get out. That means, for example, ensuring that there is proper, maintained fencing.
Horses on roads
Furley Page personal injury team has successfully handled claims for riders, pedestrians, or those in vehicles in collision with horses. We examine the circumstances surrounding your accident to establish who is to blame and whether there is, therefore, a claim.
Horse riding lessons and accidents in stables
The horse riding instructor must ensure that the ability of the rider matches the horse and carry out reasonable checks that the rider was fit to ride. Also, the instructors have a duty to provide suitable equipment and not let you ride in unsuitable clothing, footwear, or headgear.
Accidents in horse riding competitions
These types of accidents could involve injury to a participant or a spectator. Either way, the competition organisers, as well as those taking part, have a duty to take protective measures for the safety of those involved.
Unknown characteristics of the horse
This usually involves a horse recently purchased where, for example, the seller has not disclosed a medical or temperamental condition causing the horse to bolt or throw the rider. Rachael Stibbe, with her particular equine knowledge and experience, has successfully pursued these types of claims.
In addition, our Dispute Team handles equine claims where there is no injury. Examples include if a horse has been mis-sold or caused damage to property.
Faulty or ill-fitted horse riding equipment
There is a degree of overlap here with riding lessons and workplace accidents but equally, you may have been sold faulty equipment which might lead to a claim against the seller.
Insurance and claiming compensation
It is vital to establish that the party responsible for your injuries has the means to pay. This would usually be by them having insurance and is something we always look into for our clients at the outset.
Winning the case but not achieving payment of damages would mean that you don’t get the compensation you need. The most obvious insurance in an equine accident claim would be the rider/owner’s public liability insurance attached to their insurance policy for the horse, but there are other potential insurances if the owner/rider/horse isn’t insured for example via their home insurance or their life insurance.
When must I claim compensation?
Your claim has a ‘limitation period’ which is a deadline by which the claim must either have been resolved, or Court proceedings commenced to protect it. That deadline is almost always 3 years from the date of the accident.
If the injured victim is under 18 on the date of the accident then the 3 years only begins to run on their 18th birthday so expires on their 21st birthday. If the limitation period expires without the claim having been resolved or Court proceedings commenced then your chances of being allowed to pursue the matter are slim to non-existent. It is therefore imperative you speak to a personal injury specialist as soon as possible.
Funding your claim for compensation
The vast majority of our clients prefer to fund their case on a ‘no win no fee’ basis (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement). We are always happy to look at that possibility.
Defendant’s details are required to make a claim
To make a claim, you must obtain the defendant’s (at fault rider or owner) details. Our lawyers will then be able to investigate a claim on your behalf.
Generally, we would only be able to consider taking on any claims where the injuries have lasted longer than 6 weeks. Shorter than 6 weeks, it is likely that your claim would be designated a ‘small claim’ meaning that almost no legal costs could be recovered, making it uneconomic for you to instruct our lawyers.
How Furley Page can help
Speak to our approachable, experienced personal injury claim specialists as soon as possible. Our solicitors are experienced in equine matters and we will advise you on whether you have a viable claim for compensation related to your accident involving a horse. Contact Rachael Stibbe or Neille Ryan on 01227 763939.