Horse Riding Accidents and Personal Injury Claims

07 March 2017

By Personal Injury Solicitor Emily Henner

Whilst horse riding is a common pursuit, it’s clearly a dangerous pastime which can lead to accidents. Injuries can range from a simple sprain or fracture to more serious spinal or head injuries. It’s estimated that there are 10 fatal accidents a year in the UK due to horse riding activities.

But what happens if a horse riding accident is the fault of another person or organisation? For example, a riding school may have put a novice rider on an unsafe horse. Or the organisers of an event may have allowed the competition to proceed in dangerous weather conditions. In these types of cases, the injured person could be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation.

In the UK compensation is not limited to an award in respect of the injuries themselves. It’s also possible to claim for any financial losses directly arising from the accident, such as the cost of treatment and damaged items.

In serious injury claims where the injured person cannot work because of the accident, there may also be a sizeable claim for lost earnings. Additionally, if the person is unable to perform certain tasks because of their injuries, the cost incurred as a result can be included in the compensation settlement. This can include the cost of care and assistance, and livery costs.

By way of example, in a recent case an 18 year old claimant secured compensation of £3 million following a fall from a horse which left her paralysed when she was 14.

Equestrian Personal Injury Claims

You can make a compensation claim for personal injury arising out of a horse riding accident under common law negligence and, more specifically, under the Animals Act 1971.

To make a claim for compensation, you have to establish who was responsible for the accident. A claim can be brought against the owner or keeper of the animal or the organiser of the event. A claim can also be made against the manufacturer of faulty equipment if this is considered to have been the cause of the accident, for example in Equestrian event accidents.

This is a complex area of law with several potential defendants. Additionally the defendants may argue that the injured person had ‘consented’ to the risk of injury, which can be a tricky obstacle to overcome.

It is therefore recommended that as much information as possible is collated shortly after the accident. This should include taking detailed statements from witnesses, obtaining photographic evidence, and accurately documenting the injuries sustained. It is also necessary to consider the nature and any previous behavioural issues affecting the animal itself.

The injured person will need to attend medical examinations with independent medical experts who will advise the Court with regard to the injuries sustained. These medical experts will be instructed purely for the purposes of the personal injury compensation claim.

As with all personal injury claims, there is a strict three year time period, within which a horse riding accident claim must be registered with the Court. Failing this, the injured person will lose their right to claim and will not receive compensation.

Our Personal Injury Solicitors and Lawyers have years of experience dealing with injury claims and most claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.

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