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Paralysed girl wins £3million personal injury compensation after catastrophic back injury

A young girl has been successful in her personal injury claim for catastrophic injury compensation after she fell off a thoroughbred horse as a 14-year-old and sustained life changing injuries to her back.

The accident happened 4 years ago in 2012 when the claimant was only 14.  She was visiting her boyfriends home where his mother owned a thoroughbred horse and according to her, she was allowed to mount the horse and attempted to ride it.

Although the claimant had been riding for many years and was considered a ‘competent novice’, she had only had experience of riding ponies and she claimed that she was not experienced enough to ride a horse and in particular, a thoroughbred racing horse which are considerably bigger and can be unpredictable and headstrong.  According to her claim, the girl was given the owners protective riding gear to wear and was encouraged to ride the horse.

The accident happened when the girl went into a field and lost control of the horse and fell sustaining catastrophic injuries to her back leaving her paralysed from the waist down.

Her claim was that the mother of her now ex-boyfriend was negligent by allowing her to ride the horse as she should have known the dangers of putting an inexperienced young rider on a horse of this nature and that the risk of injury was considerable.

A High Court judge agreed with the claimant and awarded the girl £3 million which will go towards her lifetime care and lifestyle adjustments that will need to be made and to compensate for financial consequences to her earning potential as an adult.

The judge said “By positively encouraging ……. to ride the horse, and condoning, if not specifically instructing a trot in an open field for the first time, ……… was exposing her to a risk of injury from a horse which could not be controlled in other than the most benign of conditions.

“Being committed to this type of horse, and taking the step of acquiring …… very cheaply, she has convinced herself that there were no problems with the horse, when in fact there were, and it should have been known by her as difficult to manage, even for a competent novice rider.”

“In my judgment, it was reasonably foreseeable that the horse would be strong and difficult to control, and in certain conditions likely to unseat a rider who was not used to managing a horse bred to race and trained to gallop.”

The judge stated the horse was “a green, unresponsive and uneducated horse who, by her very nature, as a thoroughbred racehorse, would be strong, potentially wilful and difficult to control.”


If you’ve suffered a spinal injury, it’s important to speak to us quickly so that we can start proceedings and ensure that you receive the right support from the beginning. If you’d like to have an initial conversation regarding your injury contact me on my direct line 01625 506602 or email me at: [email protected].

Thorneycroft Solicitors personal injury team are based in Macclesfield, Cheshire and we are one of the UK’s leading firms of dedicated personal injury claim solicitors with a reputation for the highest levels of customer service and successful spinal injury compensation claims.