partly cloudy asked in PetsHorses · 5 months ago

Law suit against owner for damages?

A dear friend of mine has a boarding barn. Last winter, she and her staff were bringing horses in for the night and something spooked them, and they all bolted. (4 of them). She got trampled. 3 were imediatly caught but one ran and ran, and then was on the road. In a blind panic. Some idiot motorist with the cheapest insurance on earth actually attempted to pass the bolting horse at 40 miles an hour and drove over the lead line pulling the horse under the car. I won't get into anymore detail. The horse succumbed to his injuries. Now 14 months later this guy has filed a lawsuit against her. The farm is still part of an estate for the owner (her dad) who passed away a few years ago. She basically leases the farm from the estate. She does not have homeowners insurance. Can she win in this lawsuit? The motorist was partially responsible for the way things turned out.

17 Answers

  • 4 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Lawyer literally means liar in latin, laws are mostly bullcrap, easily circumvented by high priced attorneys, BUT You are liable to a degree IF it happened (the car hitting the horse) on Your' property, or rather the estate would be... however being the ward of the animal more likely then not will also make You liable as there's still old laws on the books almost everywhere from when horses were used as transportation. Your' running a business with no insurance is one of the most inept, gross negligent things humans ever do, AND will make the judge, & jurors in court think You're an overall bad person. Can You win the lawsuit? Sure, anything is possible, but unless You get a REALLY good lawyer, more then likely You will loose the business, & property, and You deserve to for not having insurance. 

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    NOPE! The person RESPONSIBLE for ANY animal is ALWAYS responsible for ANY damage the animal causes. PERIOD. The end. ALWAYS! EVERY TIME. ALL the time. NO EXCEPTIONS.  SHE will have to pay for ANY damages to the car. FACT! And anything you snivel will make absolutely NO difference.

  • 4 months ago

    This involves responsibility of the horse owner, the boarder, and the estate/owner. There is a case for negligence on the part of all involved, and the  investigation should and likely will involve learning why and where the horse bolted, where the horse existed the property, and if gates and fencing along the road were  secure. The driver of the car did not slow down and tried to pass the horse, will be a problem for the driver and car owner. The entirety of such  responsibilities should and ought to be looked into.  In each ,part of this case responsibility and negligence is the issue. for the horse owner, the boarder, the driver of the car, and the estate/owner. The reason for this to have occurred will hold the most responsibility.

  • 4 months ago

    That’s horrible for both the horse, owner and her. I would say a lawyer would need to look at everything and decide how good of a case she has. 

    You might try reposting this in a more law/legal centered category with some more details about your location and how the guy has responded and acted. Chances are the people in the Horse form arnt going to know much about the legal process, and this definitely isn’t a normal situation that most people on here have been in. And your going to get a lot of people on her that are more sympathetic with the horse over the barn owner. 

    If she really has no insurance then it’s not going to look good on her. A judge might think that it doesn’t set a ‘responsible’ business owner image, and it give his lawyer a good argument against her. She definitely needs a good lawyer to be willing to take her case. 

    Hopefully she had him sign a well written liability contract that might give her a good foundation to start with, and maybe they can use character witnesses to speak on her behalf. 

    Honestly, it was her responsibility to care for the horse, regardless of the situation she wasn’t able to do what she had been hired to do. On the business side of it (unless she had a well laid out boarding contract that can protect her against something like this) then she should pay for the loss and damages done. I’m not a lawyer but I would think that the best argument they would have is negligence and possibly animal abuse, loss of property, and maybe some weak emotional trauma. Her lawyers will probably try to argue that the horse was unmanageable and a danger to the staff, and hopefully she had the guy sign a good boarding agreement. 

    A lawyer might look at it and think that a settlement is the best route if they don’t think it’s a strong case. If that happens then she will have to sale something or find the money some how. 

    The sooner she gets a good lawyer the more time they will have to build up her case for her. 

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  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    She was paid to care for the horse.  She failed.   The horse wouldn't have died if she hadn't let it escape her property.    She is the negligent party.

    If your friend wants to try to sue the motorist, so be it.  But it would likely result in a counter-suit.  The horse wasn't supposed to be in the road.

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    WHERE matters.  This is not Federal law, not International Law.

    In MY State the owners of animals (dogs, cats, cattle, horse) are responsible for any and all injured and property damages caused by their animals which are out of their control.  Certainly a horse in the roadway falls into that category.

    I have no idea why the motorist was an "idiot" and why his/her vehicle insurance matters - other than to make you look petty.

    Only FOOLS - speak of idiots - don't have homeowners insurance.  It's just that simple.

    Motorists do not expect to come across bolting horses in the roadway.  The driver will testify he was surprised, did not have time to stop.  You apparently will testify that the driver was an idiot.  The driver will testify that only an idiot would be in such poor control of 4 horses that all 4 bolted and only 3 could be recaptured.  The driver will claim that the person in control of the horses should have been aware of the possibility that they would run.

    There are two pertinent lawsuits of which I am aware in Pennsylvania - man in a convertible, at night, hits a horse on public street, speed limit 40 mph.  The horse flips in the air, lands in the car, the driver loses control and is killed.  BIG SETTLEMENT on behalf of man's family.

    Second case - more familiar to people.  Man driving van in rural area, was aware of livestock but did not expect to see a cow on the highway, hits the cow, cow flips onto the hood, kicks through the windshield, kicks man in head, he dies.  BIG SETTLEMENT.

    I have NO idea what she "basically" leases the farm means.  WHO OWNS THE FARM?  Her father's estate?  Then she will be sued and she will have to bring the estate into the lawsuit.

    I'd speak to an attorney.  Your dear friend is being very, very  foolish in the way she manages her life.  If there are significant damages, who would I file against?  The owner of the property, the person running the boarding establishment, the owner of the horse (and I would allege negligence in picking where to board the horse), the people involved in bringing the horses inside when the horses got loose, the estate - if it's separate from the owner.  It's a "shotgun" approach to a lawsuit, and it covers all of the parties IF there is significant damage.

    The only defense I see is inattentive driving or failure to stop in a dangerous situation.

    A Judge or jury will believe one side or the other.

    Source(s): education/experience
  • 5 months ago

    just my personal opinion but many years ago I owned a horse, a young tb directly off the track, this was a mare and used for personal riding, boarded in a stable along with thirty or more other horses ranging from quarter horse to arab, morgan, irish, etc.....the owner of that stable would NEVER attempt to bring several horses together into a field, into pens, into the barn....wherever....what your friend did, no matter the numbers of "staff" was irresponsible.....I have seen horses out of control a few times, your friend was negligent.

  • 5 months ago

    Not everyone grows up in the country and knows what to do. 

    Pretty shortsighted to be boarding horses and not have insurance. I would guess she's in a bad spot. She operates a business, she isn't insured, and her fencing was / is inadequate. People are **paying** her for her service, which I imagine a judge will view differently from a homeowner whose own horse got loose. Did she pay the horse's owner for his/her loss?

    Many years ago, someone I knew hit and killed a large dog with her very old car. Fortunately, the damage wasn't too bad. But they did discuss filing a suit against the dog owner. The car owners were very, very poor and couldn't afford another car.

  • 5 months ago

    No one can really make any useful comment on this unless they are a lawyer who knows what the law says where you are, and you didn't say where you are, and I doubt if any lawyer is going to say anything on a forum like this.

    The motorist may be partly responsible--though how anyone without at least some knowledge of horses could have known about the lead line and what it could do, even if it was visible in the dark, isn't clear--but the initial and major responsibility is with the owner of the horse who did not keep the horse off the road. That, at least, is the way I understand the law. The horse shouldn't have been on the road uncontrolled in the first place and if it hadn't been there then nothing would have happened.

    It isn't clear if your friend is boarding horses as a business. It sounds like she was, if she had people who could be described as staff. In that case, homeowner's insurance, even if she had it, might not cover this situation anyway. 

  • *****
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Your friend needs an attorney. She is likely to be held responsible for damages in most places due to her negligence in allowing the horse to stray into the road, but laws can vary by location. 

    Your friend is also a COMPLETE idiot for operating a horse boarding facility with no liability insurance. Do the horse owners know she isn't carrying insurance? 

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