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hkfarms 09-16-2012 08:36 PM

Threat of lawsuit
My husband was driving down a county road with a 50 mph speed limit to stack hay with a piece of farm equipment that can go about 45 mph max, and came upon three riders on the other side of the road. They started waving their arms and he slowed down to around 35. Watched them as he passed and checked in his mirrors to make sure everything was okay. Everyone was still on and all looked calm. Within 15 mins they had tracked him down saying he had bucked their 65 year old dad off and he suffered a concussion and they would sue us for his medical bills.

What is the law as far as horses on the road? Are they considered a pedestrian? Do they have grounds to sue? We are located in WA state.

NdAppy 09-16-2012 08:46 PM

Call a lawyer...

Sharpie 09-16-2012 08:49 PM

Unless he actually hit the horse or rider or ran them off the road, I doubt he will be liable for anything. Sometimes there have been issues getting drivers even punished when they DID hit a horse and rider on the road. He showed normal courtesy- he should not be liable for a rider choosing to ride a horse on the road that is not safe around vehicles or that the rider could not control.

SouthernTrails 09-16-2012 08:54 PM


Pedestrians or not, if your husband did not hit them they should not have a case, besides he slowed down and observed proper courtesy it sounds like.

Of course a Lawyer is the best to ask.

loveduffy 09-16-2012 09:18 PM

unfortunate any body these day could sue I hope all works out for you both

Cat 09-16-2012 09:24 PM

They can try to sue you - anyone can sue for anything anymore. Doesn't mean they will win.

And how did they know within 15 minutes that the dad had a concussion? I thought a doctor was needed for diagnosis and I had no idea they could get someone in to see a doctor so fast! I need to know where that hospital is - must break records for patient care.

Shoebox 09-16-2012 10:48 PM

That sounds ridiculous. Firstly, none of the riders were hit. Secondly, anybody riding a horse assumes the full responsibility of their horse - if the horse gets scared of a car and falls off, that's the owner's problem (Unless the car deliberately scared them). If you're riding on the road you should be prepared for anything that happens. My horse happens to be terrified of moderate traffic and throws a fit - does that mean I can sue the drivers of all of those cars? Nope.

At my barn, there is a sign saying something along the lines of "Any person who practices equine activities takes full responsibilities for injuries caused by practicing said sport" Or something like that. And it's completely true. If he showed proper courtesy, which he did, they shouldn't have any grounds to sue. By riding on the road, they are accepting the risk that their horse could get scared.

Also... how on earth did they go to a doctor in fifteen minutes?! Even if they sue, I doubt they have any grounds to get anything out of you. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, and talking to one would still be advisable.

Copperhead 09-16-2012 11:05 PM

There are laws to prevent people from sueing in the event of an equestrian related activity. Many states have these laws. It pretty much means that if you're dumb enough to get on the horse, you're dumb enough to get hurt. You can't blame anyone else for your stupidity. They can try and sue but I don't think much of it will come out of it. The road is for cars these days, not trail riders.

DancingArabian 09-17-2012 10:10 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Call a lawyer and be sure to countersue to cover all the costs of defending yourself.

He didn't hit the horses and he slowed down. He didn't honk or scream (why people do either is beyond me but they do). Anything could have happened to spook the horse that the rider didn't see so they blame the last thing they did see - the car. They don't stand a chance.
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gunslinger 09-17-2012 10:35 AM

I wouldn't do anything until they sue.

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