Three horses died as a result of a car wreck in northern Georgia last month. Two of the horses were owned by a Georgia resident who had been training to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic equestrian team. The other horse killed in the car accident was owned by another equestrian competitor based overseas. The horses were being transported to an out-of-state horse farm to undergo physical examinations.
The Georgia man was understandably distraught over the loss. He had been part of a five-member U.S. equestrian team that won a gold medal in the Pan American Games last fall. The loss is emotionally draining for the man, because he was training with these particular horses on a daily basis for quite some time. He says his dreams of competing have been completely destroyed.
As per the Georgia State Patrol, the two-vehicle accident occurred when a car failed to yield to the horse trailer, which resulted in a collision at an intersection. One horse died at the scene while the two others were euthanized due to injuries sustained in the car accident. Fortunately, three other horses which were traveling in the trailer survived the crash, and have been returned to the man’s farm.
Although it remains to be proven in a court of law, if the other vehicle is confirmed to be at fault for the collision, then the Georgia man may have ability to pursue a civil claim for damages incurred due to the loss of the race horses. And the value of the horses, depending on their pedigree, may be quite a significant sum.
Though this particular case doesn’t involve any people who sustained serious injuries, many of the same legal issues involved in traditional personal injury cases are at work here. Drivers can be held accountable in civil court for the financial and emotional damages they cause as a result of their negligence. Unfortunately, nothing can undo what has already been done in this man’s case, but it can only be hoped the he ultimately finds the strength and will to return to the race track.
Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, “Olympic hopeful’s horses killed in wreck,” May 30, 2012