$1.2 M award in horseback riding fatality in WyomingPosted: January 7, 2010
A Wyoming jury has awarded $1.2 million dollars for the death of a woman in a horseback riding accident. Attorney for the family says this will prompt a review of safety standards in the equine industry.
I can see it coming next summer in Wyoming and many other states.
It is sad when a 21-year-old woman died, I do not want to make fun of her death. I am making fun of a jury and a system that says a woman taking horseback riding lessons can sue.
It appears from the article that no release was used and the defense was based solely on the Wyoming Recreation Statute. As I have said before that is a Swiss cheese statute, it has as many holes as it has defenses. Most statutes that purport to protect outdoor recreation providers do more damage than good. Equine statutes are the most infamous. Since equine liability statutes have been enacted, they have been 100% effective. No horse has been sued since the statutes have been passed. However, they have done nothing to stop lawsuits by people injured by horses or riding. It is stupid to rely on any statute to protect you in a lawsuit, always use a release written by an attorney.
It is also funny that the plaintiff’s lawyer is attempting to justify the large award as forcing the equine industry into being safer. It will not happen, if anything it will have the opposite effect. When insurance premiums go up because of this verdict, there will be less time and money to spend on safety.
However, we are talking about horses for heaven’s sake. I grew up with horses; they are beautiful; they are also dumb, unpredictable, flight, skittish, scared and scary! Horses are big and go fast. If you fall off a ladder five foot in the air, you expect to be hurt. If that ladder is traveling at 20 miles per hour, you should expect to be hurt worse.
See Lawyer: $1.2M verdict may boost horse safety