Horse injuries, also called equine-related injuries, can occur in a variety of ways. You might be injured by a friend’s or family member’s horse or by a horse that you have rented through a stable.  Often, injuries occur from falling off the horse, not wearing a protective helmet, or getting kicked. Injuries can be mild to severe, sometimes involving a concussion or even death. Although horses can be domesticated, they are still animals that will revert to their natural instincts when under stress.

When Is a Horse Owner Liable for Injuries?

With horses, most injuries are caused from kicks as opposed to bites. In general, there are no specific laws regarding injuries from horse attack, so most of them are treated the same as those caused by other domestic animals, like dog bites, under typical negligence standards. An owner will generally be held liable if he knew or had reason to know of the horse’s dangerous propensities and therefore able to prevent a horse attack.

Who Is Liable for Horse Injuries?

The liable party will depend on the circumstances of your injury. If the horse is privately owned, the owner could be the appropriate defendant. There may be additional parties, however, including the stable where you rented the horse or an instructor. 

Are There Defenses to Horse Injury Lawsuits?

In line with other animal cases, horse owners can often avoid liability for injuries if they can show that the injured person ignored warnings, provoked the horse, or trespassed on the owner’s property. Additionally, if you participated in a trail ride or riding lessons, you may have signed a waiver of liability that limits your ability to sue.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

If you or a loved one has been injured by a horse and would like to recover for your injuries, a personal injury attorney with experience in animal attacks can help evaluate your case based on the laws in your state.