Equine Injuries – Who’s at Fault?

Riding horses can be an enjoyable and healthy – albeit expensive – hobby. Although less dangerous than many other sports, horse riding is not without risks. Jenna Tatoulian knows this all too well. In 2014, the experienced equestrian was thrown from a horse during training. As a result, she suffered multiple fractures to her tailbone and pelvis, and is now suing the riding club that she says is responsible for her injuries.

Tatoulian claims that a water truck at California’s Paddock Riding Club backfired, spooking her horse. She filed a lawsuit against the club, her trainer, and one of the club employees in Los Angeles Superior Court. The employee, Javier Del Angel, was driving the club’s water truck when it backfired. According to Tatoulian, the loud noise frightened the horse, causing the large animal to gallop off. She was thrown to the ground.

Working around horses, the club and its employees should have known that sudden, loud noises can spook horses. At least that’s what Tatoulian alleges in her lawsuit. She also claims that the club was negligent in employing the inexperienced Del Angel, who Tatoulian says was unfit to work there. A MA personal injury can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a horse.

$7.8 Million Awarded in Horse-Related Wrongful Death Case

Another recent equine-related injury occurred in Pennsylvania, at the Parx Casino and Racetrack. Mario Calderon was killed when the horse he had been exercising dragged him and repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso. According to the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the track, the horse was startled by chickens that were permitted to roam the track. The victim’s family was awarded $7.8 million when it was revealed that Parx had known the chickens were an issue before Calderon’s death. In fact, Calderson himself had already been injured in a similar incident.

How to Determine Who’s at Fault

Horse-related injury claims can be extremely complicated; who’s at fault – if anyone – depends on multiple factors. If any of the scenarios below are present, someone will likely be liable for any resulting injuries or property damage.

  • If damages occurred when a horse was running loose, the owner may be at fault for improper or inadequate fencing.
  • If the horse has previously injured another person, or has exhibited aggressive tendencies such as biting or kicking, the owner may be at fault if the victim wasn’t properly warned.
  • If the injury or property damage occurred on a road or another space not designated as “open range,” the owner may be liable because of improper fencing or gate locks.
  • If the horse’s owner was negligent in caring for or handling the horse, he or she may be liable if the horse “acts out” and inflicts injury or property damage.


Of course, the scenarios above are not exhaustive. There are multiple conditions in which a horse owner, trainer, or riding club or staff can be at fault for equine injuries. In many circumstances, horse owners believe that their homeowner’s insurance will cover any liability, but this is rarely the case. Even if it does, insurance companies will look for any loophole possible to excuse themselves from paying a dime. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a horse.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Personal Injury Law Firm Serving All of MA

If you have been injured in an equine-related accident, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have extensive experience in equine injury cases. If you have been harmed due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. We have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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