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A Cursory Look at Horse or Equine Injuries: Do Victims Have Legal Recourse

Posted on in Personal Injury

It is no secret that horses are beautiful, powerful animals that can inspire awe among riders and spectators alike. Sadly, those very same creatures can cause a range of unfortunate injuries that ultimately lead to personal injury lawsuits. It isn't always the horse's fault either. Sometimes the blame rests with the rider, spectators, other animals or the environment. Nonetheless, the direct and indirect costs associated with horse or equine injuries can be astronomical, to say the very least.

You may ask, “How astronomical are they?” Well, a historical look back at nationwide horse injury statistics provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reveals that it is not uncommon for fatal and non-fatal accidents to cost more than $900 million dollars in emergency healthcare alone. Of course that's not taking into account the multitude of costs that may accumulate after the injured party leaves the acute care facility's ER Department. They will obviously vary based on the injury and its severity.

Over the years, many studies have been completed regarding the types of equine injuries humans suffer and what the potential impact is on the victim's quality of life. Collectively, they show that the long list of common injuries includes, but isn't limited to brain trauma, fractured bones, sensory loss, nerve damage, soft tissue lacerations, abrasions and contusions. Research America reports that regardless of origin, traumatic brain injuries alone are likely to cost victims at least $85,000 in healthcare costs over the course of their natural lives. Now consider that most equestrian accidents result in injuries to multiple parts of the body and it will be easy to see why people often pursue legal action against negligent parties.

It should also be noted that because of the legal ramifications and costs involved, many states across the nation have put Equine Activity Liability Acts in place. For those that have never heard of Equine Activity Liability Acts, they vary by state but all have a common goal. That goal is to reduce the punitive damages that may be levied by victims and their agents against the horse's owner or owners. As a whole, the laws are traditionally based on a legal premise known as contributory liability. It is similar in theory to the concept of contributory negligence in that rightfully or wrongfully, it shifts part of the blame to the victim.

In other words, in the court's eyes, people who knowingly put themselves in harm's way are not entitled to unlimited compensation. Consequently, some states allow victims to sue horse owners up to a certain amount and others offer no financial relief to injured parties at all. The only way to fully know which states currently have Equine Activity Liability Acts in place and what they entail is to consult with an attorney that understands the finer points of horse or equine injury litigation.

A personal injury lawyer familiar with Equine Activity Liability legislation may be able to find other methods to help victims receive compensation. For example, if a faulty saddle contributed to the victim's injuries and negligence can be proven, a civil case against the manufacturer may prove to be a viable option. To learn more about this topic and others associated with horse or equine injuries, please contact us today.

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