I received a phone call this week about two farriers in separate cases who each are being sued for injuring a horse. A day later, a separate discussion began on a popular farrier-only discussion board on Facebook about liability insurance. Both of these got me to think about the need for liability insurance.
I understand the reasons why some farriers don’t carry it. Some want to role the dice. Others are new to the profession and haven’t thought about it. Other newbies know liability insurance exists, but maybe without a family, think it isn’t a worthwhile investment.
Other farriers may not carry the insurance because they believe that equine liability laws are designed to protect them from a lawsuit. However, no farrier should rely on those laws.
“Nothing in those laws, in most states, is going to prevent a farrier from being sued if a horse is injured, or if a person or other property is damaged,” explains Lance Allen, director of the Equine Division in the Stilwell, Kan., office of Markel Insurance. “Most of these laws have a giant loophole that leaves a farrier exposed to acts or omissions that could be considered negligent. An astute attorney is going to claim the farrier was negligent if someone is injured.”
Allen also adds that it is a mistake to think that liability insurance is only important for those who work with high-end horses.
“You don’t want to think that just because you’re working on inexpensive horses, you don’t need protection,” he says. “What if a 12-year-old girl is holding the horse and it takes off? She could have a million-dollar injury.”
Before I write about the need for it in a future blog, I’m curious to find out how many of you carry liability insurance. I’ve created a poll to get your thoughts on liability insurance for farriers. Please respond to this by Feb. 5 and I’ll report on these results in an upcoming blog.