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equestrian accidents


Equestrian Accidents: Traumatic Injury Claims

Equestrian accidents can lead to severe and traumatic injuries. You may be able to make a claim and get access to rehabilitation treatment for your injuries.

Horse riding is considered a skilled and high-risk activity. Though equestrian accidents are relatively uncommon, they do still occur and can cause serious and traumatic injuries. Horses are large, powerful animals, and though they are sensitive and friendly animals most of the time, they can sometimes be unpredictable in unfamiliar situations. 

Unfortunately, many equestrian accidents happen through no fault of the horse or its rider but rather from negligence from a third party. In such circumstances, you may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation.

Our member firms at Major Trauma Group are highly experienced in assisting clients who have suffered severe injuries following an equestrian accident. Our personal injury lawyers work tirelessly to ensure victims receive the compensation they deserve following their injuries. If you would like more information on our services and our expertise in equestrian accident claims, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Common horse-related accidents

Horse-related accidents can occur both to those who ride horses and those who work with them on the ground. Some of the most common examples include the following:

  • Falls from horses: One of the most common accidents, if not the most common, involves riders falling off their horses. Due to the large size of horses, such falls from height can cause significant injury. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as the horse spooking, bucking, or simply losing balance.
  • Collisions: Riders can be involved in collisions with other horses, vehicles, or objects. These collisions can be especially dangerous if they occur at high speeds. Road traffic collisions can also put multiple road users and passengers at risk of injury, not just the horse rider and horse.
  • Kick or bite injuries: Horses can kick when they feel threatened or agitated, leading to injuries to individuals nearby, including riders or handlers. These injuries can range in severity.
  • Crush injuries: Being caught between a horse and a solid object, such as a stall wall or fence, can result in crush injuries. This can happen when handling horses in confined spaces or during transportation.
  • Tack malfunctions or unsuitable equipment: Failure of equipment such as saddles, bridles, or reins can lead to accidents, causing the rider to lose control or fall. Regular inspection and maintenance of tack are essential to prevent such accidents.
  • Unsuitable or unpredictable horse: Riders may be given an unsuitable horse to ride, whether they are a beginner or not; handlers should assess the temperament of the horse to ensure it is safe to ride and is a suitable horse for the ability of the rider. 

Many factors can contribute to an accident, and it is crucial for horse riders and horse handlers to be vigilant and aware of their environment. It is always important that the rider wears a helmet, rides safely, watches for potential hazards and uses proper riding equipment to try to minimise the risk of accidents occurring.

Common injuries sustained in equestrian accidents

Injuries sustained in horse riding accidents can range in severity, but many victims will unfortunately suffer serious and traumatic injuries. It is not unusual for a rider who is involved in a road traffic collision or fall from their horse to suffer major trauma injuries. Sadly, some equestrian accidents can also result in fatalities. Some of the most common injuries sustained include:

  • Multiple broken bones: Bones can break due to the impact of falling from a horse or being kicked. Common fracture sites include the wrists, ankles, collarbones, and ribs.
  • Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and skull fractures can occur if a rider falls and hits their head on the ground or a hard surface. Wearing a properly fitted helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • Spinal injuries: Falls from horses or being kicked can cause spinal fractures, herniated discs, or other spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis or neurological deficits.
  • Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma from falls or kicks can cause internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, or pneumothorax (collapsed lung).
  • Crush injuries: Being trapped between a horse and a solid object can cause crush injuries, which can lead to tissue damage, fractures, or compartment syndrome.
Equestrian accidents can lead to severe and debilitating injuries
Equestrian accidents can lead to severe and debilitating injuries
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Can you make a negligence claim following an equestrian accident?

If a third party was responsible for your equestrian accident, then it may be possible to pursue a personal injury claim on the grounds of negligence. Such circumstances could include a road traffic collision, inadequate supervision or instruction, faulty or ill-fitting tack or other riding equipment or a riding school failing to provide a horse suitable for a rider’s level of experience or providing a horse who has previously displayed unattractive behaviours or characteristics.

Claims can also be made under the Animals Act 1971; however, these claims would most likely be related to an injury due to a horse biting, bucking or kicking, essentially though no fault of a third party. Additionally, it is notably challenging to bring a successful claim under the Act as there are several criteria you/the horse must meet in order to be successful in the claim. These types of claims are separate from making a claim under the general rules of negligence.

If you have sustained traumatic injuries in an equestrian accident and believe someone else’s negligence was a contributing factor, then it is crucial for you to discuss the accident with a specialist personal injury lawyer. Our member solicitors at Major Trauma Group are well-equipped to assess your case and consider the specific details and complexities of horse riding accident claims to determine the viability of pursuing legal action for compensation. 

The British Horse Society ‘Dead Slow’ Campaign

The British Horse Society’s (BHS) Dead Slow campaign is a road safety initiative aimed at protecting horses, riders, and drivers on the road. It aims to raise awareness about road safety for horses and riders and emphasises the importance of drivers slowing down and passing horses safely on roads.

The Dead Slow campaign encourages drivers to slow down to a maximum speed of 10 mph, to be patient around horses and their riders, and to pass wide and slow. As of January 2022, the Dead Slow messaging is also included in the official UK Highway Code, emphasising its importance for road safety.

The BHS collects statistics each year on the number of horse-related incidents that occur on the road, and the figures emphasise just how often accidents occur. From the 1st of January 2023 to the 31st of December 2023, the statistics show:

  • 3,383 road incidents occurred
  • 66 horses have died, and an additional 86 horses have been injured
  • Three people have died and 94 people have been injured in an equestrian road incident
  • 85% of incidents occurred due to a vehicle passing a horse too closely or quickly 

It is important to bear in mind that the statistics are likely to be higher than the ones reported on the BHS website, as the BHS are only able to publish the incidents reported to them. Many accidents will take place that are not reported and do not count towards the official figures. 

How much compensation could you receive?

The amount of compensation you could receive for an equestrian accident varies widely depending on several factors, including the severity of the injuries sustained, the impact on your life and livelihood, and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Compensation is typically awarded based on two types of damages: general damages and special damages.

General damages are intended to compensate for pain and suffering, any impact on your quality of life, and any long-term physical or psychological effects resulting from the accident. Special damages are intended to compensate for financial losses incurred as a direct result of the accident. This may include rehabilitation costs, loss of earnings (both current and future), expenses for care and assistance, and any other expenses related to the accident and your injuries.

The personal injury lawyers at Major Trauma Group possess substantial expertise in ensuring that the compensation awarded to our clients accurately reflects the severity of their injuries, related expenses, and future lifestyle considerations. Please reach out to one of our team members today to explore how our dedicated serious injury solicitors can assist you.

Why choose Major Trauma Group?

Our member firms at Major Trauma Group consist of a network of highly reputable law firms across the UK, all of whom are experts in the area of personal injury claims. We are dedicated to securing the best financial outcomes for our clients alongside expert rehabilitation treatments.

We will discuss how your claim can be funded from the outset and may be able to offer our services on a no win fee basis, meaning you do not need to worry about the costs associated with making a claim.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team to find out how we can assist you regarding equestrian accident claims, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. You can contact us on 0330 311 2578 or email us at

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Struggling after injury?
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Who are the serious injury solicitors of Major Trauma Group, and how can they help me?

Who are the serious injury solicitors of Major Trauma Group, and how can they help me?

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