Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Injury Resulting from Horse Based on Jurisdiction

Horseback RiderThere are many different ways that you can be injured in an accident, including incidents caused by large animals. As dedicated Chicago personal injury attorneys, the lawyers at Therman Law Offices have handled a wide variety of accident cases, including dog bites and other injuries caused by animals. In a recent lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that she was injured when she was kicked by a horse owned by another individual. In the complaint, she alleged that the owner violated the Illinois Animal Control Act and acted in a negligent manner at the time of the injury.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the parties were riding horses next to each other on a public trail when the defendant’s horse kicked the plaintiff. She alleged that her injuries resulted in permanent disabilities and disfigurement. The allegations further stated that the plaintiff did not provoke the defendant’s horse and that she was conducting herself in a peaceful manner at a place where she had a right to be located. Regarding the negligence claim, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant failed to warn the plaintiff about the violent nature of the horse and its tendency to kick people, failed to train the horse properly, and was negligent in riding too close to the plaintiff when she knew that the horse had a violent nature. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was riding the horse in a manner that went against industry norms and customs.

The defendant responded to the complaint by alleging that the injury actually occurred in Missouri and that Missouri law should govern the matter. As a result, the defendant argued that the claim based on the Illinois statute must be dismissed. Next, the defendant argued that the plaintiff had executed a Release of Liability before engaging in the horseback riding endeavor and that according to Missouri law, this absolved the defendant of liability. Based on these arguments, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the action.

The plaintiff countered by arguing that Illinois law did apply and that the Release was not valid because the defendant did not attach a certified and sworn copy of the Release to the motion to dismiss. In the alternative, the plaintiff argued that the Release was contrary to Illinois public policy and vague and ambiguous in nature, and the defendant could not rely upon it because she was not a party to the Release.

The trial court held a hearing on the motion to dismiss, during which the defendant withdrew part of her motion, leaving only her claim that the Illinois statute was not proper because of the location of the injury. The court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground that the plaintiff failed to show that Illinois law governed the matter. The plaintiff eventually appealed, but the appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling.

If you were injured in a situation involving animals such as a horse or a dangerous dog, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner. At Therman Law Offices, we understand how stressful this situation is for your loved ones and you. We can guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are asserted at every step while providing you with the responsive and dedicated counsel that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 773-545-8849 or contact us online.

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