Hematoma and barn owner liability
:-xI came out to the barn I board at tonight (Thursday) to check on my WB stallion because he's going to the clinic to be collected tomorrow (breeding season is upon us!). I was furious his halter snap was pulled completely open on the side- The B.O. KNOWS I do NOT want halters on in stalls. Then she showed me this HUGE swollen area hanging from his pec muscle, which clearly appears to be a hematoma. He was fine when I saw him Sunday night. He is supposed to be at the breeding clinic for collection tomorrow at 11am, and am going to have to call that off, because I'm about positive this will require surgical draining. The recovery period is a MINIMUM of 6 weeks & I don't want to expose him to infection trailering & at the clinic. We were to go to training the first of April for the dressage show season- NOT gonna happen now. I may have lost my breeding & show seasons. Advice?? Between the halter looking like it got hung up on something, the location of his feeder & the mare (in heat) she put next to him, I can somewhat calculate what happened. I am hoping that I can get her to pay my vet bill, but with my loss of income can I get her to put in a claim against her "care, custody & control" insurance without actually suing her to recover my losses? And yes, I am buying a place & WILL be moving my horses- even when you know people, they don't take care of your horses like you do.
Have you talked to the vet?
Am I understanding? The stallion cannot mount the phantom and be collected?
Sorry to hear about your horse. I am not a lawyer, so this is just personal observation and not legal advice. :)
What you do have going for you is quantifiable "damages." If you do lose both breeding and show seasons based on this injury, you can actually calculate a somewhat objective dollar amount for your "loss."
Most lawyers on something like this will work on contingency. In practice, this means that for any decent lawyer the "damages" must be big to be worth their while. Unless you can show a loss of $25k or more, most good lawyers probably will not want to bother. I am guessing this is unlikely unless you are a professional competing at some very high levels.
Some of you other problems are:
- "I can somewhat calculate what happened." In other words you are guessing. That means the BO and their lawyer can also guess, and they are sure to guess differently than you.
- "The B.O. KNOWS I do NOT want halters on" Do you have this as a written agreement? If not, how can you _prove_ this statement? If you can prove it, can you also prove that the BO agreed to this request? Can you also _prove_ that halters in stalls are inherently less safe than no halters? (I also don't like them on in stalls, but I don't think I can prove it is safer).
I could go on, but I think you see my point. Once you go the legal route, it could drag on for months/years and may not come out the way you think.
Try reasoning with the BO. See if they will agree to run it through their insurance. The "friendly" route usually works best, even when you are really mad. Talk it out in a firm but friendly and civil manner and you may get some satisfaction.
Next step could be to play a little hardball and bill them for the vet. Do it in writing. Then tell them they don't have to pay cash - you will deduct the amount owed from your board. :) I did this to my barn several months back (long story). My BO is not that buttoned up, so I got away with it. Before you do something like that you may want to consult a lawyer, especially if you have a written boarding agreement.
Firstly, I'm sorry to hear about your horse.
Secondly, I'd seek legal advise from a trusted member in your family or community.
jaredmtucker is absolutely right. The only advice you should take is from a qualified attorney in your area.
However, I am a BO and have a pretty upfront and straight contract which holds us harmless from any injuries, accidents or deaths (people and animal) resulting from any equine or leisure related activities on our property for anyone (boarders, visitors and guests).
It is really unfortunate that your horse has been so disappointingly injured but I have seen hematomas before and there are situations (such as heart conditions) where they can appear out-of-the-blue with no visible explanation. Speculative deduction to determine the cause is just that. Your vet should be able to advise you further which will enable you to make an informed decision about which direction to take. Hopefully, you and your BO can work together amicably to come up with a solution that is to your mutual satisfaction.
Horses will be horses! I think whenever you board at a certain facility, its your duty as a horse owner to inspect the place thoroughly and ask questions. "My horse is a stallion.. How close will he be to mares?".
In my boarding contract it states that I may move any horses around as I see fit to minimize ware and tear on my facilities. Did you ask her why she put the mare there? I don't think any barn owner is out to hurt their boarders. I know that I will do anything to minimize conflict amongst the horses but I only have so many places to put horses and everyone may not get along and there is nothing more I can do about it... If you don't like it move your horse.
I hope your horse gets better! That really sucks but talk to the vet before you get to worked up. :o)
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