Equestrian Accident: Six Figure Sum Recovered by Beacon Law
Find out how much your personal injury claim may be worth
Late last year, Beacon Law were successful in recovering a significant six figure sum for the victim of a serious equestrian accident. Compensation was obtained for his injuries sustained, as well as financial losses due to the fact that the Claimant was unable to return to work as an Orthopaedic Consultant after the accident.
The Claimant contacted Beacon Law soon after the accident occurred to discuss making a personal injury claim as he believed that the Defendant’s negligence resulted in him suffering an injury to his shoulder. As we believed the Claimant’s claim had good prospects of success, we agreed to take on the claim on a no win, no fee basis to ensure he received the compensation he deserved.
Wiencek v Neville Cope . (Trading as Bissell Wood Equestrian Centre)
The Claimant, Mr Wiencek, an Orthopaedic Surgeon from the USA, living in the UK, kept his horses at an equestrian centre and DIY livery Stables owned by Mr Cope, the Defendant. The Claimant had complained to the Defendant on multiple occasions about the standard and general maintenance of the facilities, in particular, the state of the fences.
On 26th February 2016, three horses escaped from the facility on two occasions. One of the three horses, “Rebel” was owned by another customer of the livery service and was described by the owner as “boisterous and sharp.” After the horses escaped the first time, they were returned by a member of staff and repairs were made to the fence.
Later, on the same day, the horses pushed over part of the fence and escaped for a second time. The Claimant and two other customers were asked to assist in recovering the horses. As the Claimant was leading Rebel back to the stables along a bridleway, Rebel suddenly bolted forwards and collided with the Claimant, throwing him up into the air, causing a serious shoulder injury.
Mr Wiencek sustained a severe shoulder injury, requiring a number of operations. Due to the injury, the Claimant was no longer able to continue in his employment as an Orthopaedic Surgeon and had to abandon his plans to return to the USA periodically to work as a locum.
The main allegations we made on behalf of the Claimant were:
- That the Defendant was in breach of section 2 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 for failing to adequately maintain the fences of Rebel’s paddock.
- That the Defendant had been negligent by requesting Mr Wiencek’s assistance in recapturing the horses.
- That the defendant had been in breach of Section 2 of the Animals Act 1971 which provides for strict liability if certain conditions are met.
As the value of the case was significant and the applied law very complex, court proceedings were issued on behalf of the Claimant and the case went to a 4 day liability trial.
After hearing all the evidence, the Judge held that the Defendant had, indeed, been negligent as the fencing was in poor condition and they failed to take “reasonable precautions” to prevent the horses from escaping after the first escape. The Judge also held that injury to a person in the circumstances was reasonably foreseeable.
It was also held by the Judge that the Claimant did not “freely and voluntarily impliedly agree
to incur a risk” but “responded to the Defendant’s request in order to protect others from what the Claimant feared may be a “catastrophic” injury in a road collision”
The Animals Act provides guidance on the law surrounding injury from animals. This Act provides strict liability if the below conditions are met:
(a) the damage is of a kind which the animal, unless restrained, was likely to cause or which, if caused by the animal, was likely to be severe; and
(b) the likelihood of the damage or of its being severe was due to characteristics of the animal which are not normally found in animals of the same species or are not normally so found except at particular times or in particular circumstances; and
(c) those characteristics were known to that keeper or were at any time known to a person who at that time had charge of the animal as that keeper’s servant or, where that keeper is the head of a household, were known to another keeper of the animal who is a member of that household and under the age of sixteen.
The Judge held that all the conditions for strict liability had been met in this case.
Following success at trial, the case went on to be settled for a six figure sum due to the fact that the Claimant was unable to return to his employment.
Mark Brierley, Partner at Beacon Law comments on the case:
“Mr Wiencek came to us shortly after his accident and although these types of cases are notoriously difficult to win, we decided that the case had sufficient prospects for us to take the matter on. The law surrounding this case was incredibly complex and featured many different strands. I worked very closely with one of our firm’s most experienced Solicitors, Sarah Johnson, and experienced counsel, Mr Justin Valentine, to build a very strong and robust case on liability. We had to fight the case all the way to trial, but we were all pleased in the end to obtain a successful outcome for Mr Wiencek.”
Equestrian Accident Claims for Compensation
Accidents involving horses can be catastrophic and usually result in serious injuries, such as head injuries, fractured limbs and even paralysis and serious spinal injuries. Beacon Law has dealt with a number of equestrian accident claims. Some of the most common types of accidents involving horses include:
- Horse riders falling off horses whilst riding as a pastime, competing, or being taught at a riding school.
- Horse accident injuries sustained as the result of being thrown off or kicked by a horse exhibiting dangerous behaviour.
- Accidents during a riding lesson when a student has been given a horse with the wrong type of temperament to suit their sills or riding ability.
- Injuries sustained by staff who are working with horses.
- Riders being crushed by a horse falling on top of them.
- Road traffic accidents involving road users and horses.
- Injuries to spectators whilst attending an equestrian event.
- Accidents caused by defective, unsuitable, or ill-fitting riding equipment, or not being provided with protective equipment such as a riding hat.
To find out if you could be entitled to horse riding accident compensation following an accident involving a horse, contact Beacon Law today.
How can Beacon Law Assist with your Equestrian Accident Claim?
Beacon Law is a Manchester-based Personal Injury law firm with a great reputation for providing exceptional service to all clients. Our specialist solicitors and legal professionals have vast experience in handling all types of personal injury claims. We have experience in dealing with equestrian and horse accident claims and all other types of animal attacks and occupiers liability claims. We also provide assistance to claimants who have been involved in an accident at work.
We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and can provide you with the legal advice you require as your personal injury lawyer. We will provide assistance throughout your case and act only within your instructions in progressing the matter.
If you require our assistance or wish to discuss your case based on its own facts, please complete the online contact form on our website, and a specialist Solicitor will contact you. Alternatively, you may call us on 0330 1332 857 to discuss your potential case.