An estimated three million people in the UK, both adults and children, participate in horse riding as a sport or hobby. With the average horse weighing up to 500kg and reaching speeds of up to 40mph when galloping, this sport comes with inherent risks.
Experienced equestrians will understand that, despite proper precautions and high skill levels, injuries can often be an inevitable part of the sport and at some point while riding an injury is likely to occur.Many riders have at least one recorded injury during their career.
If the injury suffered is due to the negligence or deliberate act of another party then there may be the option to claim compensation due to the harm suffered. The laws surrounding personal injury can be difficult to understand, however, our guide explains everything you need to know and will help you understand whether you have a claim, how to go about making a claim and how your claim will progress. For help with your potential claim, call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
What is personal injury?
When a party suffers personal injuries as a result of the conduct of another party, they are entitled to obtain compensation in respect of losses such as pain and suffering, and compensation for any economic loss which has been sustained as a result. The injured party (pursuer) can claim in respect of loss, injury or damage. For help at this stage call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
What kind of injury can I claim compensation for in a horse riding claim?
As with any animal, horses have minds of their own and if they decide to buck or rear then the rider may be injured. This kind of injury is not actionable unless the reason that the horse acted in such a manner can be attributed to another party. We are able to make a claim following injuries from actions that include:
a) deliberate conduct intended to harm the victim or the victim's property; and
b) unintentional, but careless, conduct that has harmed the victim or the victim's property.
The most important element in understanding what kinds of injuries are actionable is the concept of duty of care. A duty of care is only owed to a person whom the defender caused injury due to their careless conduct. Where an act is deliberate, the pursuer is the person that the defender intended to harm by their conduct and there is no need to invoke the duty of care. For help at this stage call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
When can injury involving horses occur from the actions of others?
When a participant in a dangerous sport is injured by other participant, the duty of care will be examined to determine whether the injury was caused due to the defenders carelessness or their malicious intent. The defender does not owe a duty of care to the pursuer to protect them from injuries the risk of which are inherent to the sport, for example, falls from the horse that causes damage.
If injury arises from conduct that is contrary to the rules of the sport, the pursuer's remedy arises from the delict of assault, rather than in a breach of the duty of care. Following regulations extends beyond the parameters of the sport; while riding a horse on a public road other road users must abide by the Highway Code. Riders can be unseated and injured by horses that are frightened by cars passing too close or too fast and, in doing so, have violated their duty of care. For help at this stage call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
What happens when the horse causes injury to another party?
Although the common law still applies to situations of damage caused by animals, the Animals (Scotland) Act 1987 applies. Where this Act applies, the defender's liability is strict, meaning that the defender (the owner of the horse) is liable without the pursuer having to prove that there was negligence.
The person liable is the keeper of the animal at the time of injury or damage. For the purposes of the Act this can be:
a) the owner of the horse, even if it has escaped, until someone else becomes the owner
b) the person with possession of the horse (this does not include a person detaining the animal to prevent it from causing damage or persons or property) or
c) the parent of a child under the age of 16 who is regarded as the keeper of the horse
If a horse is owned by one party but in the possession of another (which is often the case with race horses) then, in some cases, they can be held jointly liable. Furthermore, the definition of 'animal' is extremely wide within this context and can cover a wide range of creatures and not only horses. To get help and advice regarding your situation call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
What if I am a spectator at an equestrian event?
The duty of care exists to prevent the defender from acting in a particular way, however, spectators of dangerous sports should be aware that there is an inherent risk of harm in the sport.
The injury must arise directly from the careless or intentional action of the defender and not from elements that were out with their control. In this case, the 'remoteness' of the damage is assessed.
Therefore, in the circumstances, the participant does not owe the spectator a duty of care, if, for example, the racetrack was not suitable for racing or the safety precautions were inadequate. In this case the organiser or the event would be the party that owed the spectator a duty of care. Call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page for help and advice today.
What is the liability of organisations that host equestrian services?
Those that host equestrian events, run riding schools and employ people to tend to the animals have a duty of care to ensure the safety of those involved with the sport. Organisations cannot simply avoid liability with a notice saying 'we accept no liability'; they have a duty to ensure that they have adequately sought to protect the safety of spectators. For example, a riding school must ensure that a horse is suitable for its rider and trained instructor should accompany inexperienced participants during lessons in order to ensure they adequately fulfil their duty of care. For help at this stage call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
In what time period must I bring a claim for a riding accident?
There is a general limitation for bringing a horse accident claim of three years from the date the injury took place. Within this period there must have been proceedings initiated with a court for the injury to be actionable. This can be extended only if the full nature of the injuries are only recently discovered. However, should an injured party wish to initiate a claim it is advisable to do so at the earlier possible opportunity in order to acquire best evidence to present to the court. For help at this stage call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
What level of compensation am I likely to receive from equestrian accidents?
The level of compensation can be better predicted with a fuller understanding of the injuries sustained. This is established through medical reports and recent awards made by the courts regarding similar injuries.
The courts aim in making an award to put the pursuer in the same position as they would have been but for the accident. This is a difficult distinction to make and, as such, financial compensation for injuries is awarded, increasing dependent upon the severity of the injuries. Other aspects of this evaluation are easier, for example, if the pursuer has suffered any loss of earnings due to their inability to work arising from their injuries. To discuss your own situation further today call 01252354412 or fill out the online form at the top of this page.
It is important that those that have been the victim of equine related accidents to keep detailed records of information and documentation surrounding their accident and the financial elements arising from the injuries.
- The law is designed to support those seeking financial compensation to put them in the same position they would have been but for the accident.
- It is the pursuer's responsibility to prove that the injury caused was due to the intention or reckless actions of another party.
- There are deadlines within which a claim must be brought.
- Those that host equestrian services have a duty to protect those that use, work and attend their events.
- A claim may be brought against the owner or the keeper of an animal that has caused damage to the person or property of another.
- The level of compensation awarded will depend on the circumstances and will be decided by the courts.
If you think you might have an accident claim, or require some more free advice relating to a potential claim, we can help.
Nothing in this guide is intended to constitute legal advice and you are strongly advised to seek independent advice on matters that affect you.
It will help you understand whether you have a claim, how to go about making a claim and how your claim will progress.
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