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£55,000 for client who sustained a spinal fracture during a lesson in an outdoor arena

We were instructed to claim damages, on a no-win no-fee basis, in connection with a horse riding accident that occurred on 18 November 2011.

The circumstances of the accident were that our client was having a private riding lesson in an outdoor arena. Our client was riding her own horse, who was not usually spooky, and which had been at the yard for one year which meant that he was very familiar with the schooling area.

Our client had jumped her horse over a show jumping fence and was trotting to the next jump when without warning a nearby Christmas tree, that been attached to a jump stand, blew down in the wind and fell in the direction of our client and her horse. Our client’s horse shot sideways and our client fell off.

HorseSolicitor was instructed to act and immediately sent a letter of claim to Equestrian Centre, requesting a copy of the accident book entry.

We alleged fault on the basis that the establishment failed to ensure that the schooling area was safe and free of hazards. Our client paid livery at the yard and part of the amount that she paid covered use of the outdoor arena.

Our client had a contract with the establishment and had a legal right to expect that any decorative features that were added to the school were not going to create a hazard for her and her horse. It was alleged that the establishment negligently failed to ensure that the decorative Christmas tree was fixed securely and this caused our client’s injury as it was reasonably foreseeable that an unsecured Christmas tree could easily blow down in an outdoor arena and cause a horse to spook.

As a result of the accident our client sustained a severe wedge spinal fracture to the L2 vertebrae and was admitted, on a spinal board, as an inpatient to hospital. The fracture has unfortunately never fully healed and has left her with permanent symptoms in her lower back which has had a significant impact on our client’s life and employment.

The riding establishment initially denied liability which resulted in court proceedings being commenced. Following negotiations the matter settled prior to trial.

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