Just because he doesn't have insurance doesn't mean that he can't be held liable. Also, when I had my horse transported to me after purchase, I bought insurance for her myself just in case any accidents, injuries, or even death took place during the trip. Also, I would think that even if he were insured, it would have to be proven that this injury happened through the negligence of the transporter through faulty equipment.
I hope that your boy has a full recovery from his injury. I feel bad that this happened to him.
We do have insurance on our horse but it is strictly for mortality and theft. He is a Thoroughbred race horse and insurance companies do not offer loss-of-use policies that cover sickness or injuries because of the potential for loss that exists.
The transporter told my husband the same thing you just said...that we should have purchased our own shipping insurance policy on our horse. It is so aggravating and frustrating to me that horse transporters can basically just say, "Oh well, not my problem." I don't know of any other business that operates like that, where they put the responsibility back on the customer for damages. If you are at an amusement park and your child gets injured on one of the rides, I can't imagine the amusement park saying, "Oh well, you should have taken out amusement park insurance on your kid just in case he got hurt while he's here at our facility." It is just bizarre to me.
You are right about having to prove negligence or mechanical defect on the part of the transportation company, his driver, or his equipment. We did speak to an equine liability attorney and that was her concern as well. However, she did bring up a number of very serious issues that should be addressed with this guy. For example, if he's trying to say he doesn't operate a business, then most likely he's not paying taxes on any of the income he's making from hauling horses. So there's an issue of tax evasion. And there's big issues with the Department of Transportation because he is hauling horses across state lines without a DOT number and without commercial liability insurance. And we do not even know if he has a commercial driver's license. In the U.S., if the trailer weighs 10,000 pounds or more (loaded) and the combined loaded weight (of truck and trailer) is 26,001 or more pounds, the driver is required to have a CDL.
Interestingly, if we had taken out shipping insurance on our boy and our insurance company covered the vet bills, the insurance company in turn would go after the transportation company in order to recover the money paid out on the claim. So the shipper would have to deal with all of the above issues anyway. Our attorney is going to be sending a demand letter to the transporter, so we will see how that goes.