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Jill Headford

Posted 23 November 2011
by Jill Headford

Liability for injuries

Oh dear!  Another two accidental injury cases reported this week, both of interest to the horse world.  One is about a golfer who lost his eye to a stray golf ball hit from an adjacent tee.  He was awarded £400,000 – payable 70% by the golfer who hit the ball and 30% by the club.  In the other case an employee at an equestrian centre was awarded £20,000 for the loss of his big toe when a pallet fell on it while he was working.It is of course fashionable to cry foul whenever anybody injured at work or while doing their sport sues for damages but the simple points to take on board are:

  • The employer, sports centre, etc, as the case may be, has the opportunity or is in a position to insure against such risks whereas the employee/participant is not always in that position.
  • Again, the employer/premises owner has the opportunity to carry out risk assessments and put measures in place to avoid people losing their eyes, toes or other body parts.  If a simple measure like insisting on steel toe-capped boots or putting up appropriate warning signs would reduce the risk of injury but those in a position to take such steps don’t bother, they will take a hit on their insurance and consequently their premiums.
  • Damages are not awarded for genuine “accidents” – only for cases where someone has actually been negligent.

Any occupation or pursuit which involves horses tends to also involve damage (in my experience at least!).  But health and safety risk assessments are easy to do – have you done yours?



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About the author

Jill Headford

Jill Headford

Partner and Solicitor

A partner in the firm since 1994 and an experienced Court and Tribunal advocate, Jill specialises in resolving disputes and is a member of the Property Litigation Association