Freeclaim Solicitors highlight the complexities of horse riding accident claims
Horse riding is an inherently dangerous sport. Horses are unpredictable flight animals so falls, injuries and accidents happen regularly.
Jockey Phillip Hide claimed £58,000 compensation at the Court of Appeal after he was thrown from his horse when he was about to jump a hurdle.
“You’re not a true rider until you’ve fallen off 7 times” is an old saying commonly used to encourage inexperienced riders to get back on their steed after the inevitable first few falls. Horse riding is an inherently dangerous sport. Horses are unpredictable flight animals so falls, injuries and accidents happen regularly.
The Court of Appeal concluded in two cases last year (Goldsmith-v- Pathcott and Turnball–v-Warrener) that the riders in these cases had voluntarily assumed the risk of injury when agreeing to ride each horse. Mrs Goldsmith suffered facial injuries when trying a horse which was being offered free to a good home. The horse bucked and reared violently causing her to fall. The horse then trod on her causing the injuries. Mrs Goldsmith was an experienced rider and it was concluded that it was not out of character for a horse to buck. Mrs Turnball suffered injuries when the horse that she was riding in a bitless bridle bolted through a hedge towards a road. Her claim was dismissed on the basis that horses are unpredictable animals and may not always respond to the rider’s commands.
However, if an accident happens due to negligence on someone else’s behalf, a claim for compensation could be brought about. Defective equipment can cause injury when riding a horse, along with unsuitable and poorly maintained grounds at organised shows or riding events. A woman claimed £60,000 compensation from a riding school after she was injured during a lesson. The horse she was riding went to jump a fence and got it’s foot caught, causing the woman to fall. The fence moved as it was not fixed securely or weighted down. This was found to be a fault of the riding school’s for not ensuring their equipment was suitable maintained. Equally, a wrong pairing between a rider and a horse after an inadequate riding ability assessment (recommended by the British Horse Society) at a riding school could bring about personal injury to the rider and a claim for compensation.
Jockeys and grooms may also be able to claim compensation for an accident at work if they are injured whilst riding. Jockey Phillip Hide claimed £58,000 compensation at the Court of Appeal after he was thrown from his horse when he was about to jump a hurdle, and his hip hit part of the outer rail of the track. The rail and the hurdle were found to be too close together, and the rail was not adequately padded.
Further to these claims, there is case law to say that horse riders are not expected to dismount or stop riding whilst motor vehicles are passing. Therefore, a claim can be possible if someone is injured as a result of a road traffic accident whilst they are out horse riding. British Horse Society figures show that there are around 3,000 accidents involving horses on our roads every year. 7% of these incidents were found to have caused serious injury to the rider.
Riding schools also have the responsibility to ensure any hacks (riding out on the roads/along bridleways outside of the riding school) are led, supervised and planned appropriately. This includes ensuring that any nervous horses that are not used to roads are accompanied by trained, experience horses, and any children are fully supervised and are wearing a properly fitted helmet.
Freeclaim Solicitors are specialist personal injury solicitors with over 25 years’ experience. They have the knowledge and experience to deal with complex horse riding accident claims. For further information visit their website at http://www.freeclaim.co.uk/ or call their 24 hour helpline on 0800 612 7340.
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