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£14,479.55 compensation for horse rider injured whilst out hacking

We were instructed to claim compensation following a road traffic accident that occurred on 10 August 2013.

Our client was riding her horse along a lane when a lorry, travelling in the opposite direction, spooked her horse. Our client and the independent witness (who was positioned behind our client and travelling in the same direction) confirmed that the lorry was travelling too fast to safely pass a horse. The witness confirmed that she could see that an accident was likely to happen given the rate at which the lorry approached. The witness stopped to put more distance between herself and the accident that she anticipated was about to occur. Our client recalls shaking her head at the lorry driver and thinking please ‘don’t do this’ as she watched him close the gap between them.

The horse, which was experienced and sensible in traffic, reared up in panic and fell backwards. Luckily he did not land on our client however she did sustain injury. Sadly, the horse did sustain injury and was later euthanized at the scene. Our client was taken to the hospital. It was confirmed that she had sustained whiplash symptoms in her back and neck and soft tissue damage to her right arm. She was referred to a spine clinic and had to wear a neck brace.

It was argued that the fact that the large roller on the back of the lorry was rotating as it drove past at speed only made the driver’s actions more reckless.

The witness confirmed that after the accident the lorry driver reduced his speed to a slow crawl, possibly stopping for a second or two and leant forward to get a better view in his mirror before leaving the scene.

Neither the independent witness nor our client were able to recall the registration number. As such this matter was initially submitted directly to the company which owned the van, the insurer of said company and to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. The company held a fleet policy and the insurer informed us that there were potentially hundreds of vehicles covered by the policy. The letter of claim was sent to the company that owned the van in case the insurer refused to provide indemnity for the incident on the basis that the lorry responsible might not have been covered by them. Alternatively the insurer might have attempted to argue that a registration number was required to lodge a claim with them. What was not in doubt, based on the witness evidence, was that the lorry belonged to the company to which we sent the letter of claim and that the owner bought said company in 2005 and was therefore ultimately responsible for the actions of the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.

We alleged fault on the basis that the driver, driving in the course of business for the company was negligent and drove contrary to the Highway Code. He failed to drive slowly past our client and her horse, failed to allow plenty of room, was too close and consequently spooked our client’s horse causing injury to our client and fatal injuries to her horse. The Highway Code is clear in relation to how one should pass a horse and rider when it states that they should be given plenty of room and that the driver should be ready to stop.

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