Can You Sue for a Horse Accident?


Cassandra Nguy

Yes, those at-fault during a horse accident may pay for damages. The median age for horse riding accidents is 29.8 years old, an incredibly young age to deal with broken bones and lacerations. Various horseback riding accidents may be caused by another party, and that’s when you should involve a personal injury attorney.

The victim should file a personal injury claim and find an attorney to help them with the legal process. Were you injured during a horse accident that wasn’t your fault? You can submit a short evaluation form with us at LegalASAP. We can help connect you to an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim.

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Types of Horse Accident Injuries

There are different types of horse accidents, and each case varies. Horse accidents often lead to lethal injuries like trampling on the head or accidental falls. Sustaining injuries from trampling can cause severe bleeding, brain injuries, blindness, or death. Your immediate family may need to file a wrongful death claim if such a case occurs.

Injuries From Falling Off a Horse

The most common and dangerous injury in a horse accident is falling off the horse, leading to head and neck injuries. Depending on the terrain, a rider can also land on their shoulders.

Horse industry statistics show that approximately 83.4% of horse injuries are caused by the rider falling off the horse. The cause of the fall could be the horse’s behavior, abnormal walking terrain, or stumbling on jumps. Thus, it’s crucial to take measures and wear safety gear if one plans to ride a horse.

Who is Liable for a Horse Accident?

Depending on the situation, anyone could be liable for a horse accident. The parties responsible may have to compensate the victim, and it can be multiple individuals, such as:

  • Horse owner
  • Property owner
  • Trainer or riding instructor
  • Riding club
  • Recreation center
  • Other horse riders
  • Equipment manufacturer
  • Employees
  • Veterinarian

It may be difficult to pinpoint who is at-fault for your injuries. Contact a personal injury attorney to help you determine who should be liable for your claim.

What is Equine Liability Insurance?

Managers or property owners may use their equine liability insurance to help cover the damages of your injury. Equine liability insurance protects the owner by covering the cost to the victim in case of a personal injury, bodily injury, or property damage.

Business owners who sell horses may often have equine liability insurance for security. Accidents can happen, and it’s better to get coverage in case of sustaining loss. Even if the owners are not found at-fault, they may need to cover defense costs to pay an attorney to represent your case.

Damages From a Horseback Riding Lawsuit

Damages caused in a horseback riding lawsuit may result in financial loss and injuries during the accident. Depending on the severity of the damages, the expenses may cost the plaintiff:

  • Ambulance costs
  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Emergency room expenses
  • Occupational or physical therapy
  • Prescriptions and medical supplies
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent scarring

You can also sue for punitive damages if you feel the accident has caused permanent side effects due to the plaintiff’s negligence.

Assumption of Risk in Horseback Riding Accidents

Assumption of risk during a horse riding incident is a legal defense that changes the liability to the victim, who inherently knows the risks of participating in risky activities. And yet, even if riders are aware of the risk, that doesn’t mean no one is liable for the injuries.

For example, two riders are racing with their horses, and Rider A thoughtlessly pushes Rider B. Rider B accidentally falls and sustains injuries. Rider A claims that Rider B should know the risks of riding horses. However, rider A may have been reckless enough to have caused the injuries.

Fighting Liability Waivers in a Horseback Riding Lawsuit

Sometimes, liability waivers protect the owners from being at-fault for injuries or damages often caused by negligence. Liability waivers are often involved during horse events or horseback riding activities. The person signing the waiver acknowledges the risks in such activities and may not sue for negligence on the owner’s part.

Fighting liability waivers in a horseback riding lawsuit may be possible depending on your case. The liability waiver may protect the owner from acts of negligence. However, it may not protect them from reckless behavior or intentional acts that caused your injuries.

The contract may not work if someone under 18 signed it. Under the law, children are not eligible to sign a legally enforceable waiver, but their guardians can.

The jury may look at your case to determine if the accident covers the liability waiver or the assumption of risk agreement.

Is Horseback Riding Dangerous?

According to the National Safety Council, horseback riding is the 17th most dangerous recreational activity, resulting in 46,577 ER visits in 2022. About 38,628 victims needed treatment after sustaining injuries, and 7,949 victims had fatal injuries needing hospitalization or resulting in death.

Horseback Riding Accident Statistics

Horseback riding accidents are relatively rare compared to other sports, but the severity of a horse accident injury is high. When a horse accident occurs, oftentimes the injuries require hospitalization.

Some horseback riding statistics in 2023 are:

  • 74.83% of deaths were due to head and neck injuries
  • 2 out of 3 riding injuries could have been prevented
  • Horseback riding is the leading cause of sport-related traumatic brain damage
  • The lifetime cost for critical head injuries can cost up to $3 million
  • Wearing a helmet while horseback riding reduces severe head injuries by 50%
  • About 81% of equestrians get injured at some point in their riding career
  • Over 100,000 horse-related accidents occur in the U.S. yearly
  • The most common horseback riding accident is due to the rider falling off a horse

The National Library of Medicine database showed research done from 2002 to 2004, analyzing a large demographic of horseback riding victims who were white females in their 20s, 40s, and 50s. Severe injuries were falling off or bucked off the horse occurring at home or in recreational facilities.

Find an Attorney to Protect You After a Deadly Horse Accident

If you need assistance filing a claim after a deadly horse accident, LegalASAP can help. We are a network of 500+ firms that helps victims find an attorney experienced in their case. We can assist you in finding an attorney to protect you from a horseback accident.

Fill out this short evaluation form or call us at 888-927-3080 and speak with our agents who can help you with any questions or inquiries you may have.

Cassandra Nguy

Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at