Horse Riding Accident Lawyer
Massachusetts has hundreds of miles of beautiful horseback riding trails throughout the state, from the tree-lined paths of Blackstone Valley to the sandy beaches of Cape Cod. Despite the sport’s great appeal among Massachusetts residents as well as visitors, riding is an activity that carries significant risks.
Even the most skilled equestrians can get bitten, kicked, thrown, or otherwise injured by a frightened or temperamental horse. Riders can also be injured due to faulty riding equipment or because they lost control of the animal or because they lost their balance while riding. Passersby can be struck by a running horse, and occasionally motorists or bikers can collide with horses.
These accidents can cause extremely serious and often permanent injuries. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken back or other bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Dislocated joints
- Loss of vision
- Facial lacerations
The medical and financial expenses associated with horseback riding injuries can be astronomical. Many of these injuries require surgeries, long hospital stays, extensive rehabilitation, and in-home nursing services. To make matters worse, in some cases, the rider’s injuries are so grave that he or she must miss substantial time from work – or can no longer work at all.
Is the person/entity responsible for the horse also responsible for my injuries?
Answer: Only under specific circumstances. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 128 section 2D provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities. However, under some circumstances, equine activity sponsors or other equine professionals, such as the owners of stables, riding academies, etc., can be held liable for injuries to or deaths of participants in an equestrian activity.
Massachusetts law provides that equine professionals can be held liable if they:
- Knowingly provided faulty tack or equipment
- Failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the equine activity
- Own or otherwise are in lawful possession of the land or facilities upon which the participant sustained injuries due to a known, dangerous latent condition
- Committed an act or omission that constitutes a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant or intentionally injures the participant
In addition, the Massachusetts statute requires the visible displaying of warning signs to alert participants to the limitation of liability by law. Furthermore, the law sets out several definitions related to equine activities, but also specifically mentions that the term “engage in an equine activity” shall not include being a spectator at an equine activity, except in cases where the spectator places himself in an unauthorized area or in immediate proximity to the equine activity. In addition, this statute covers accidents involving horses, donkeys, ponies, and mules.
When should I contact a horseback riding accident attorney?
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a riding accident, contact an experienced Massachusetts horse riding accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney knowledgeable about Massachusetts equine law can determine whether you have a viable claim against the equine professional or any third party, and act quickly to preserve your rights. If you do have a legitimate claim, you may be entitled to financial compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Peter Ventura is a Massachusetts horseback riding injury lawyer dedicated to helping people in the Massachusetts area recover full and fair compensation for horse riding accidents that resulted in injuries or death. Contact us or call for a free consultation today at 508-755-7535.