A rider paralysed in a jumping fall would have made a full recovery if she had been told to keep still until paramedics arrived.
That is the warning from Birchall Blackburn Law after its serious and catastrophic injury solicitor, Robert Jones, successfully secured a significant damages claim for the rider.
The law firm is also urging horse riders, owners, trainers and yard owners to make sure they have the correct insurance in place in case of an incident.
The rider’s claim was pursued in the high court and an offer accepted outside of court. The compensation received will make a huge difference to her quality of life, including medical costs, equipment and moving to a bungalow or having her existing home adapted to her current needs.
The rider became unbalanced and fell from a horse during a cross-country lesson. She recalled approaching a jump but didn’t know how she fell from the horse or what happened next.
She also recalled that as she was lying on the ground waiting for paramedics, she heard a witness say that she had initially got to her feet and managed to remove her riding hat and equestrian body protector, at which point she immediately fell back down to the ground and lost the feeling in her legs.
In evidence, the treating neurosurgeon confirmed that the rider’s injuries were not inevitable. Had she been made to keep still until paramedics she would have made a full recovery. Instead, she is paralysed from the chest down.
“Although we are delighted to have helped our client recover the compensation she deserved and so desperately needed, the bottom line is that she is left paralysed. No amount of compensation can make that right and everyone involved in this claim wishes they could turn back the clock,” said a statement from Birchall Blackburn Law.
“The real tragedy is that her injuries were not inevitable. From the evidence of the neurosurgeons, the conclusion must be that had she been kept still until the paramedics arrived, she would have eventually made a full recovery.
“Whenever there is even a possibility of spinal injury, the most basic first aid advice is to keep the casualty still until they have been stabilised by paramedics. That applies to falls suffered in sporting activity, in the home, at work or anywhere else. We urge any first aiders to always be mindful of this and to proceed with the upmost caution.”