Court Determines Personal Injury Plaintiff Assumed the Risk of Participating in Horse Race, Preventing Plaintiff’s Recovery

Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit filed by a woman who was seriously injured when she was run over by a horse during a race in which she was participating. The case is important for Maryland personal injury plaintiffs because it acts as a warning, illustrating how defendants may attempt to evade liability through the doctrine of assumption of the risk.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was participating in a horse race spanning either 25 or 50 miles, depending on the rider’s preference. During the race, riders were to stop at checkpoints to obtain playing cards indicating that they did indeed make their way around the predetermined circuit.

At approximately the eight-mile mark, the plaintiff was in the leading group of riders. The plaintiff dismounted her horse to obtain the playing card, as per the race rules. However, as she did so, the defendant’s horse ran into a nearby cluster of other horses, causing a chain-reaction accident. Several of the horses were startled and took off running. The plaintiff was injured when she was trampled by one of the horses.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the defendant’s negligence resulted in her injuries. The defendant, in turn, argued that the plaintiff should not be permitted to pursue her claim because the plaintiff knew that horse racing was dangerous and presented a certain risk of injury, but she opted to enter the race nonetheless. The plaintiff’s response was that horse racing was not as dangerous as the defendant claimed and that this type of injury was not a foreseeable consequence of entering and participating in the race.

The court viewed a video taken by one of the riders on the day of the race. The video depicted many of the riders, including the plaintiff, tailgating other horses, swerving around other participants, and engaging in other dangerous conduct. The court concluded that this type of race did present inherent dangers of which the plaintiff should have known. Therefore, the court held that the plaintiff assumed the risk of her injury and should not be permitted to seek compensation from the defendant for her injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, you should be prepared for all defenses, including assumption of the risk as well as contributory negligence. In some cases, defendants may entirely escape liability by establishing that the plaintiff was partially at fault for the accident resulting in their injuries. Therefore, the assistance of an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney is crucial to the success of most claims. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Personal Injury Cases Based on Maryland Sports Injuries, Maryland Accident Law Blog, August 1, 2017.

Appellate Court Determines Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case Should Have Been Presented to the Jury, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 10, 2017.

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