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Society’s general understanding of the law is often shaped by what we see on television or in movies. The storylines depicted typically start with a search for the truth and end with a sense of justice served. In the real world, the law is not nearly as black and white; in fact, much more often, it’s shades of gray. Having completed law school before becoming a farrier, I have a deeper insight into the types of legal issues that may arise in this line of work and ways we can avoid them.
Farriers, by the nature of our chosen profession, are exposed to a lot of liability issues that could result in litigation. Every day we travel many miles on the roads, use dangerous tools and equipment, haul trailers, work with unpredictable animals in environments where bystanders are likely coming and going. In addition, we enter into contractual relationships and we’re increasingly using apprentices and helpers. For these reasons — and because litigation is expensive and time-consuming — we must become aware of the types of situations where liability might arise. When we can anticipate liable situations ahead of time, we can determine the best course of action. This could include collecting documentation and photographs in the event that liability might arise or avoiding the potentially bad situation entirely and just walking away.
Liability finds its origins in one of four types of laws: common law, constitutional law, statutory law and regulations.
Common law comes…