28 August 2008 12:14
Why is it so important to have public liability insurance?
By Your Horse
Solicitor Martin Pate replies:
This stems from the 1996 case of Mirvahedy vs Henley, which held Andrew and Susan Henley strictly liable under the Animals Act 1971 when their ponies broke out of a well-fenced field and were involved in a traffic accident. The accident caused Hossein Mirvahedy, one of the victims, serious facial injuries and he was awarded compensation for damages.
In 2005, another serious accident took place when assistant Chris Kinane was kicked in the head by a horse owned by racehorse trainers Ian Semple and David Irvine. Mr Kinane suffered serious head injures requiring medical care for the rest
of his life. Because the owners of the horse didn’t have public liability insurance, they now face a compensation claim.These cases highlight the precarious position horse owners are in. The Animals Act 1971 renders horse owners strictly liable for any damage their horses cause. This would include kicking a vehicle when out hacking, kicking an individual and causing serious injuries, or breaking
out of a field or stable and causing a road accident. Case law has established that, even if the horse owner has done all they could to prevent the incident occurring, they will be held liable for the damaged caused. Public liability insurance is essential for any horse owner, as without an insurance policy to claim from, victims will seek to recover compensation from the horse owner’s own pocket, which could prove exceptionally expensive.
● Martin Pate is a solicitor with MJP Law. Call on 01202 823666/ 01202 842929, or
go to www.mjplaw.co.uk