Can I claim compensation for a horse riding accident?

Equestrian injuries can happen in many ways. Anecdotal experience of the horse riding community is that individuals are often very quick to shrug their shoulders either blaming themselves for whatever went wrong or repeating the worn out phrase “It’s just the risk you take.”

It is true that all sports and hobbies involve some risk but that does not mean that all level of risk is acceptable. In this and indeed all areas of life, the civil law deals with levels of risk by asking three basic questions: 

  1. How likely is it that a particular risk will occur ?
  2. If that risk does occur, how severe might the consequences be?
  3. What can reasonably be done to reduce that risk to the lowest acceptable level?

A balance has to be struck between the answers so that highly probable events which are likely to cause  death or catastrophic injury would be prohibited if no practicable steps can be taken to reduce the risk of occurrence to a low level. 

If you are injured in the course of either a riding lesson or when participating in equestrian event the fault for what happened does not always lie with you. Be aware that you could have a valid claim for compensation. 

Here in this mini guide, we cover what constitutes as a horse riding accident, the time limits, how much you could get and more…

What would be classed as a horse riding accident?

It is a given that riding a horse is a risk in its own right, but sometimes an injury can be the result of someone else’s carelessness. 

For example, the injury wouldn’t be your fault if someone was driving recklessly near a horse on a road so it becomes spooked and rears up, causing you to fall off. The fault would lie with the driver and you will have a very arguable claim. 

If you were riding a horse in a stable run by someone else then a horse riding accident may be caused by the following:

  • Faulty or inappropriate tack
  • Failure to properly plan or manage a lesson leading to exercises being attempted which are beyond the horse or beyond the rider.
  • Providing a horse which is unsuitable for the activity in a particular lesson ( either through inexperience or for health reasons)
  • Riding on bad ground
  • Road traffic collision
  • Accidents while working / in an equestrian competition
  • Being kicked / bitten by a horse (especially if the horse was known to kick or bite)
  • Injuries while being a spectator at an event

What other Equestrian accidents might lead to a claim

Equestrian Centres are classed as “workplaces” just as much as shops, factories and offices are. Legislation exists to protect people at work or who are visiting the premises.

Accidents can arise when manually handling equipment or supplies. Accidents can also arise when accessing, moving or using horse boxes. There are, in fact, countless ways in which injuries can occur. If in any doubt about whether you might have a right to claim compensation, speak to an experienced solicitor

How long do I have to claim?

In most cases there is a three year deadline from the date of the accident. However, there are a couple of exceptions – claims for children can be made any time before they turn 18, after which they can make a claim themselves until they turn 21. If the injured person doesn’t have the mental capacity to make their own claim, someone else can claim for them – for this there is no time limit. 

How much will I get for my horse riding accident? 

If it can be established that your horse riding accident was caused by someone else breaching a duty of care which they owed to you, the amount of compensation you will receive essentially depends on the severity of your injuries and the effects they have on your day to day life.

The tragic case of Superman actor Christopher Reeves is no better illustration of the fact that horse riding accidents tend to lead to catastrophic injury. In situations of spinal cord or brain injury, compensation awards are counted in the millions so that the person’s care, assistance, medical rehabilitation and accommodation needs can be met. The award will also include an amount of the injury itself and for loss of earnings.

Our biggest priority is to get you the rehabilitation and medical treatment you need to recover from your injury. Financial compensation from your horse riding accident is primarily about helping you get back to your life before the accident, or as close as possible. 

Have you been injured in a horse riding accident or in an equestrian setting? Get in touch with our specialist serious injury solicitors. Remember – if your injury affects your day-to-day life in any way, then it is serious.

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