Florida Statute §773.01(6) provides immunity from death or injury resulting from the inherent risks of equine activity, which is defined as “dangers or conditions which are an integral part of equine activities”; along with a list of several examples. One of the exceptions is that the immunity will not apply if the sponsor “commits an act or omission that a reasonably prudent person would not have done or omitted under the same or similar circumstances or that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, which act or omission was the proximate cause of the injury”.
Recently, in the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Case entitled McNichol vs. South Florida Trotting Center, Inc. , a plaintiff was injured at a harness track due to a two foot mound of dirt created by the Defendant that blocked access from the track to the grass infield which was intended as a safe spot for trainers to go when a horse is out of control. The trainer was injured because apparently the horse he was training was distracted by a vehicle and then took off across the track into the dirt mound causing the plaintiff to be ejected. The Plaintiff argued that this mound was not a normal condition for training tracks and was not normally associated with training horses. The defendant, naturally, moved for a directed verdict on the grounds that the injuries resulted from the inherent risks or that the plaintiff assumed the risk of an open and obvious condition.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s holding finding that a jury could have found in favor of the plaintiff that the mound was not an inherent risk of a equine activities. The Appellate Court also found error in the trial court’s finding on assumption of the risk.
For further discussion regarding equine or other animal related personal injuries, you may contact the Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer at the Schulman Law Group by calling 1-877-529-0444 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.