What is the liability of horse owner for accident on his private property?

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What is the liability of horse owner for accident on his private property?

A person given a horse to ride that was too spirited for the rider’s experience. So the rider thrown from horse, and suffered severe life/death injuries. The horse owner found the rider, took horse and left rider laying there. They put the horse away and went home; they didnot call for help. The rider managed to get to a neighbors and a call for help was made. The rider underwent surgery to save their life. Can the rider sue the owner’s homeowner’s insurance showing negligence on the owners part?

Asked on January 29, 2012 under Personal Injury, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is worth it for the rider to consult with an attorney to evaluate his/her potential case. Providing a horse which was too spirited for a rider at this level of proficiency may well be negligence; it is also possible that under the cirucmstances, there was negligence in not calling for help (usually, there is no affirmative duty to aid another; but if the injury was caused by something the owner did, that could give rise to a duty; also, if the horse-riding establishment was a commercial endeavor, that could establish a duty to paying customers).

There are two potential weaknesses in the case:

1) Horse riding is inherently dangerous; often, when someone chooses to engage in an inherently dangerous activity, he or she has assumed the risk of ordinary perils, such as falling from a horse, and may not be able to collect compensation for them.

2) The owner does not have a duty to independently verify the rider's level of skill; if the rider represented that he/she was a better rider or could handle this horse, there may have been  nothing negligent in what the owner did, unless for some reason the owner did in fact have prior knowledge of the rider's ability.


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