Horse Injury whose liable? - Page 2

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Horse Injury whose liable?

This is a discussion on Horse Injury whose liable? within the Horse Law forums, part of the Horse Resources category

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    11-10-2009, 08:55 AM
My Hold Harmless Agreement states I am NOT LIABLE for anything even in situations that could be considered negligence on my part.

Horses get hurt. It is a fact of life. Even in the best environments there are those who simply find something to injure themselves on or get into it with a "best buddy" and get a kick which causes an injury. We try to do our very best to prevent these situations but sometimes it is impossible.

Containment or the lack there of is a elemental issue if you take horses as boarders. This is where you need to be 100% sure. As a BO you have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that your facilities are able to safely and securely accommodate the horses that owners place in your confidence and expertise. If you knowingly placed your boarders horse in the paddock which had proven to be unsecured in the past you may have made a poor decision. In good faith you should at least be open to discussing the situation with the owner. Once you admit any degree of liability it is simply a negotiation at that point. This situation may require some degree of personal liability because you were aware a potential problem existed and did not make the necessary changes to prevent a future occurrence and thus an animal was injured.

It sounds as if this situation will be watched by your boarders to see how you handle it. It will likely be a good test of your business, communication and client relationship skills. Good luck.
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    11-10-2009, 10:15 AM
The point is the accident would never have happened if you had fixed the fence as you knew horses could get underneath it. I would offer to pay half the costs as it will calm the waters. Even if the boarder isn't angry now someone might say something about sueing and paying half now won't be as bad as paying for all the costs and legal fees.
    11-10-2009, 10:32 AM
Originally Posted by starlinestables    
I'm the barn owner... There is a 40 ft section of my fence that is just one rail pipe and it divides 2 pastures. We've had it like that for a year. We've had 3 horses go under it (14.2 and below) no injuries though.

In fact, she asked about that particular part of the fence and we told her that yes horses have gotten under it before but it doesn't cause any injury and its infrequent. We also told her it was on our to-do list but wasn't a high priority.

Just curious what your opinion is..
I'm a BO. I also have horses in every turn out with boarders horses. Yes, fence boards get kicked out, etc. However - a section of fence where horses can get into the neighboring herd? Nope. I assume you divide as we do - horses that should get along with each other.

You had THREE lucky incidents. IMHO - the section of fence was this accident waiting to happen. The fact that you acknowledged it to this boarder - yikes.
    11-10-2009, 10:34 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by mls    
I'm a BO. I also have horses in every turn out with boarders horses. Yes, fence boards get kicked out, etc. However - a section of fence where horses can get into the neighboring herd? Nope. I assume you divide as we do - horses that should get along with each other.

You had THREE lucky incidents. IMHO - the section of fence was this accident waiting to happen. The fact that you acknowledged it to this boarder - yikes.
ITA with mls.
    11-10-2009, 11:01 AM
Well my agreement releases me as well. My place is very nice but it is marketed to potential boarders as a work in progress..thus the very competitive rates. If they don't like the fact that their horse has a 3% chance of getting into a pasture with other horses that will be turned out with their horse anyway in the future? Then they can take their horse to another facility.

This same lady was at a 30 million dollar facility and her yearling almost broke his leg in the stall door because he got his hoof caught in the bars.

OH and the plastic corner feeder IS marketed to horse owners and it was my horse that reared in the stall and sliced his leg open.. :o/ So I should go sue the manufacturer? What is this world coming to?
    11-10-2009, 11:06 AM
I'd have thought after 3 horses escaped the fence would have been a priority. The bucket is a one off, a freak accident. A fourth horse getting out of a field isn't.
    11-10-2009, 11:09 AM
Green Broke
Clearly, you are not going to accept/admit any responsibility for what happened, I don't know why you would bother posting/asking. The fact is, though, that you were aware that there was a problem. There were THREE previous incidents of this exact thing happening and you were just lucky that none of those incidents resulted in injury. This one, though, did....and it happened because you failed to secure a fence you knew was an issue.
    11-10-2009, 11:09 AM
Legally - the Barn Owner is for sure responsible.

It is kind of like putting out a beware of dog sign. Admitting there is an issue means you are fault when the issue causes a problem.

Morally I think you are both at fault. The BO for having a fence that they know is an issue. I mean really, why have two separate turn out areas if you do not actually want the horses to stay separate? And the horse owner for agreeing to board at a facility with a sub-standard fence and then staying there when the BO says it will be fixed and it does not get fixed.
    11-10-2009, 11:41 AM
Originally Posted by starlinestables    
Well my agreement releases me as well.

However - you admitted to the boarder - as well as in writing on this board - that the issue has happened in the past. The attorney we have would have a field day being handed that type of information if she was representing your boarder in a suit.

FYI as a barn owner - sometimes things need to be vented to your buddies via e-mail!
    11-10-2009, 11:50 AM
Check out some law books, you have at least partial liability for negligence. This wasn't a force of nature that damamged your fence and resulted in an accident shortly afterwards. The fence was like that for some time, three other incidents proved that horses can and will get through it. I assume you arrange the horses' turnout schedules and placement, as well as physically turn them out yourself? As the owner of the property and manager of the horses' care, do the right thing and talk to your boarder about a win/win solution that will make everyone happy. These are the types of things that give BOs a bad reputation in their area.

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