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The British Horse Society
BHS Welcomes Court Decision
Injured carriage driver get compensation from bus company

The Countess of Lindsay, from Upper Largo in Fife, has been awarded compensation of £21,153 in the Edinburgh Court of Session after a bus owned by Stagecoach sped past her carriage spraying water over the horses, causing them to bolt and crash head-on into a car. Lady Lindsay suffered injuries to her arm, ankle, pelvis and lower back, her carriage was damaged beyond repair, and one of the horses will not be able to work again.

When the Procurator Fiscal decided not to press charges, Lady Lindsay decided to sue the company for damages herself. During the week long case, Stagecoach maintained that Lady Lindsay contributed to the accident. They said she had a duty to keep the carriage and horses under control.

Sheila Hardy, head of Safety for the British Horse Society, said "This is a wonderful result. Riders everywhere have reason to thank Lady Lindsay for her courage in fighting this case. It is vital that motorists understand that passing horses at speed and too close is a recipe for disaster. Eight riders were killed on our roads last year, and Lady Lindsay could well have been more seriously injured. Drivers now need to be aware that they could be successfully sued for damages if they fail to show consideration."

She added: "The British Horse Society is delighted that the Court did not hold the carriage driver responsible, nor did it agree that she was not in control because the horses bolted. This could prove a landmark case."

Lady Lindsay said: "I would ask, on behalf of all who take horses, ponies and other animals on the road, that drivers take the greatest possible care when passing. The injuries that can otherwise be caused are deeply distressing and often disastrous. Most drivers are excellent. For that I am grateful. Indeed shortly after the accident I expressed my thanks to the company for the care and attention that many of their Stagecoach bus drivers had shown over the previous 11 years."

* The British Horse Society is an equine welfare charity with 57,000 members.
* The BHS campaigns on behalf of riders and carriage drivers on the roads
* Instigated by the BHS, the DTLR has recently issued a TV "filler" warning motorists about horses on the roads


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