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Title: Can I claim against this horse rider?

Date: 29 February 2012

Question

I had an off when I came around a bend on a country lane to be confronted by a horse. I panicked and lost control and skidded into the verge. I didn’t hit the horse or harm its rider but I have caused about £600 damage to my bike, ruined my trousers and jacket and am bruised all over. I was not going over the speed limit for the road (60mph). I don’t think the horse was on my side of the road but it did come as a surprise. How do I claim against the rider?

Evan Smith, by e-mail

Answer

I am afraid I am not very hopeful of a successful outcome. I cannot see that the rider of the horse has done anything wrong here. You say the horse was on its side of the road and the rider is as entitled as you are to be on the road. You admit to having panicked which caused the loss of control. If you were to advance a claim against the rider of the horse either personally or with his/her insurer covering the claim then I would expect them to defend this in full on the basis that the horse rider was correctly positioned and did no wrong.

You are highly likely to face an argument that you were going too quickly around a bend when you did not know what was around the bend and that led to you panicking and losing control. They will argue that you should have been able to bring the bike to a safe stop. I am assuming that the horse was not being ridden at speed and that there was enough width to the lane for the horse and you to have passed safely in normal circumstances, otherwise there may be an argument for a 50/50 settlement if both of you were going too fast along a tight bend in a narrow lane.

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