31 January 2013
Paraplegic stablehand seeking seven-figure compensation sum
A stablehand left paraplegic following an accident at work is pursuing a claim for a seven-figure personal injury compensation settlement.
Laura Coward was just 17 years old when she suffered a broken neck after falling off retired racehorse Saucy Night while she rode the animal at the Wiltshire stables of Horses First Racing in November 2008.
Ms Coward underwent surgery after the incident which helped stabilise her severed spinal cord, but she is now wheelchair-bound due to the fact she is paralysed from the waist down.
At the time of the accident, the worker had decided to take Saucy Night - who made history in 2005 by becoming the first horse to win a race without wearing horseshoes - for a trial ride in order to test her ability.
Prior to doing so, she informed a colleague that she had not ridden for some time but she was assured Saucy Night would not cause her any problems.
However, Ms Coward was unable to control the horse when he quickly changed pace from a walk to a trot and began to lose her balance as the animal accelerated further.
Although a co-worker attempted to slow Saucy Night down by waving her arms in front of him, Ms Coward was thrown from the saddle and sustained a broken back when she fell on to wooden fencing.
As such, she is now seeking a multi-million pound damages sum from Horses First Racing through a High Court case on the grounds that the organisation's negligence is to blame for her life-changing injuries.
Her barrister John Isherwood has told the court the company breached its own health and safety regulations by permitting Ms Coward to ride Saucy Night without the horse being led by a rope.
A statement released by Horses First Racing labelled the incident a "terrible tragedy", adding that it has "deep sympathy for Laura's serious injuries".
Contact our accident and injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046 or email email@example.com if you would like advice on any personal injury matter
Posted by Francesca Witney