Injury caused by horse transporter - The Horse Forum
 50Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 Old 01-07-2020, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: FL
Posts: 41
• Horses: 0
Injury caused by horse transporter

My trainer hired a commercial horse transporter to ship a load of eight horses from New York to Florida. We have used this particular transporter quite a few times over the past 11 years and never had a problem. However, when the horses arrived at the trainer's facility in Florida, my horse limped off the trailer with a big slice across his right hind pastern. He would not put any weight on his heel and his lower leg was swollen. (The other horses on the trailer were fine.). My husband saw the driver the next day at a neighboring farm, and he asked what could have possibly cut our horse like that, especially since the other seven horses were unharmed. The driver showed my husband a photo he had taken of the inside of the trailer. The driver said a strip of aluminum that was supposed to be securing the rubber mats had come loose and was sticking out perpendicular to the wall of the trailer. The metal strip was directly behind where our horse’s right hind leg would have been. We do not know if there was a defect in the trailer, or if it was a maintenance issue that the transporter failed to take care of, or if our horse kicked out and the metal strip loosened because of that. I find it hard to believe that our horse was kicking repeatedly because he is a very well-mannered, laid back individual. I have ridden with my trainer on other trips and our horse loads easily and doesn't make a fuss in the trailer.

I won’t get into all the details of the injury as I did that in a different post under Horse Health (see Lacerated SDFT and infected tendon sheath). In a nutshell, the injury was life threatening and possibly career ending. He is out of the woods now as far as the tendon sheath infection, but we are looking at a year of rehab with a 50/50 chance of returning to performance.

Unfortunately, things have gotten kind of ugly because when my husband called the transporter to ask the owner of the company to put a claim through his commercial liability insurance, the guy told my husband, "I don't have any insurance." (His web site shows that he is "fully licensed and insured".) The guy actually told my husband, "Look, if the horse was that valuable, you should have used a more expensive shipper to haul him for you." What kind of answer is that??? We have never taken any kind of legal action against anyone ever, but we are so very upset over this whole thing and the vet bills are continuing to add up. We are just looking for some kind of monetary help with the vet bills. But when you think about it, this is an extremely dangerous situation. What if the trailer was involved in an accident on the interstate and injured or killed other motorists? What happens then? Does the guy just tell those grieving families, "Oh sorry, I don't have insurance"? The guy has four 8-horse trailers in his fleet (and doesn't own any of his own horses, I should point out) yet he claims he hauls horses "on the side" and that it's not an actual business. I don't know anybody who owns four 8-horse trailers who is just hauling horses as a hobby. I have invoices from the guy dating back almost 12 years! Clearly it is not just a hobby for him.

Anyway, the moral of the story here is to insist on seeing proof of commercial liability insurance when hiring a horse transporter. Don’t believe what somebody tells you or what is shown on his or her company’s web site.
sharon1927 is offline  
post #2 of 19 Old 01-07-2020, 09:42 PM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: A good place
Posts: 8,245
• Horses: 0
I'm so sorry about the injury first and also the lack of insurance.

I can't imagine operating a business without it. He's opening himself to suits!
boots is offline  
post #3 of 19 Old 01-07-2020, 10:21 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Northern Florida
Posts: 4,894
• Horses: 4
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.

There will be only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.
Coffee is my spirit animal
LoriF is offline  
post #4 of 19 Old 01-07-2020, 11:35 PM
Weanling
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 393
• Horses: 0
I hope you saved pictures of the inside of that trailer so you can prove it was the fault of his own equipment. I would be taking legal action if I were you. Not out of spite, but to cover vet bills. Agree with @LoriF - he can still be held liable even without insurance. He might even be charged for claiming he has insurance when he does not, as that would be advertising false services, although I'm not sure how the law works on that one so I can't guarantee that.
sharon1927 likes this.
Aprilswissmiss is online now  
post #5 of 19 Old 01-08-2020, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: FL
Posts: 41
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoriF View Post
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.
sharon1927 is offline  
post #6 of 19 Old 01-08-2020, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: FL
Posts: 41
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aprilswissmiss View Post
I hope you saved pictures of the inside of that trailer so you can prove it was the fault of his own equipment. I would be taking legal action if I were you. Not out of spite, but to cover vet bills. Agree with @LoriF - he can still be held liable even without insurance. He might even be charged for claiming he has insurance when he does not, as that would be advertising false services, although I'm not sure how the law works on that one so I can't guarantee that.
Yes, we are going to move forward with legal action. But the attorney warned us that it could get expensive. She suggested sending a demand letter to start with and see what type of response she receives from the shipper. I agree with you 100% - we are not doing this out of spite. We just want some assistance with the vet bills. And you bring up a good point - I did not even think of the false advertising angle. I don't know how the law works on that one either. I'll let you know what the attorney says.
sharon1927 is offline  
post #7 of 19 Old 01-08-2020, 03:10 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Northern Florida
Posts: 4,894
• Horses: 4
I didn't say that you should have taken out insurance for shipping, I said that is what I did. I also think that he should still be liable if you can prove that his equipment was faulty and cause injury. And, you are right. If you did have shipping insurance and made a claim, yes, they would go after him as well. Totally wrong to say on website that he's insured when in fact he isn't.

There will be only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.
Coffee is my spirit animal
LoriF is offline  
post #8 of 19 Old 01-24-2020, 09:51 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,671
• Horses: 0
Make sure you get a screen copy of his website before he removes the part about insurance from the site. I would go in and get a copy of each page of his website and save it on your computer. Also try and get a copy of the picture of the piece of wire that came loose in the trailer. That would go a long way to proving your case.



Who was there when the horse was unloaded? This is why cell-phone cameras are nice to have on you. You needed a picture of the inside of his trailer.
4horses is offline  
post #9 of 19 Old 01-24-2020, 11:57 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southeast
Posts: 8,688
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
Make sure you get a screen copy of his website before he removes the part about insurance from the site. I would go in and get a copy of each page of his website and save it on your computer. Also try and get a copy of the picture of the piece of wire that came loose in the trailer. That would go a long way to proving your case.



Who was there when the horse was unloaded? This is why cell-phone cameras are nice to have on you. You needed a picture of the inside of his trailer.
This is good advise.

Things can be changed so quickly on a website, much better to have the proof and make sure he knows it.

The letter will most likely at least scare him a bit. He sounds over confident so has probably gotten away with basically ignoring and disrespecting his customers.

Not good for repeat business, and you can also file a claim with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
JCnGrace and sharon1927 like this.
AnitaAnne is offline  
post #10 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: FL
Posts: 41
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
Make sure you get a screen copy of his website before he removes the part about insurance from the site. I would go in and get a copy of each page of his website and save it on your computer. Also try and get a copy of the picture of the piece of wire that came loose in the trailer. That would go a long way to proving your case.



Who was there when the horse was unloaded? This is why cell-phone cameras are nice to have on you. You needed a picture of the inside of his trailer.
Oh yes we definitely printed the information from his website with the footer clearly showing the site's URL as well as the date and time. So even if he takes it down or alters it later, we have proof that as as December 2019 (and actually even today!) it showed "fully licensed and insured".

The horses were delivered to our trainer's farm, so our trainer was there to receive them on the day they arrived.

If you go back and read my original post, you will see that the driver of the truck and 8-horse trailer took photographs with his cell phone. He told the trainer (and later my husband) that a metal strip had come loose inside the trailer directly behind our horse's right hind leg. He showed the photograph to both of them and apologized for the injury. He said, "We try to get them to their destination safely, but you know, sometimes things happen." The owner of the transportation company, however, would not take any responsibility upon hearing of the injury and claimed he does not have any insurance.
AnitaAnne likes this.
sharon1927 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome