Horse & Hound

Legal case sparks liability insurance warning

Grooms are urged to ensure their employers are covered, as this could make the difference in the event of an accident


THE case of a groom who sustained a life-changing injury, but had to settle for £75,000 compensati­on, has sparked a call for all grooms to ensure their employers have liability insurance.

The cover is required by law, to protect employer and staff in the case of an accident in the workplace. But in a recent case where the employer did not have it, the groom had to settle for less.

British Grooms Associatio­n (BGA) executive director Lucy Katan said: “If the employer doesn’t have employers’ liability insurance and the employee has an accident, particular­ly lifechangi­ng, the solicitor would be reliant on recovering damages directly from the employer.

“As the settlement would be taken from the employer’s personal funds, the amount could be significan­tly smaller than one resolved by an insurance firm.

“This creates risk, to the employee of not having proper recourse for an injury at work, and to the employer as they could be sued personally rather than being indemnifie­d by an insurer. This is why employers’ liability insurance is a legal requiremen­t.”

Laura Upton, principal of insurance broker Brookhurst

Risk Solutions, told H&H that an employer who does not have the cover is in breach of the Employers’ Liability Act.

“Employers’ liability insurance has standard cover of £10m, so there’s plenty to cover lifetime care if someone needs it after

an accident,” she said. “You’re required not only to have the cover but to display the certificat­e on your premises, so grooms should be able to tell whether the employer has it or not.”

The BGA urged grooms to be aware of their employment status. Previous BGA questionna­ires have indicated that many who are told they are self-employed are in fact employed, by bosses who need, but may not have, liability cover.

One groom, who did not want to be named, told H&H she was offered a riding job and told she would be self-employed, despite the fact she was told what her hours and pay would be.

“I asked about insurance and they said I’d be self-employed so it was down to me,” she said.

“I looked into it and the BGA said that wasn’t right. If I got hurt badly, I wouldn’t be able to work or look after my own horses.

“I think the illusion of lovely horses distracts people, but if you fall off and break your neck, what happens then?”

Mrs Upton added that in the event of an accident, a court would look into whether a groom was employed or not.

“If they’re not and there’s a loss, and you should have had employers’ liability cover, you’ll get fined, and the groom could seek to sue you on your public liability cover,” she said.

A BGA spokesman said: “It’s easy to convince yourself an accident won’t happen, but in a high-risk job, it’s important support is there if you need it.”

“Freelance grooms should also have their own liability insurance in the event of an accident when clients’ horses are in their care.”

 ??  ?? Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requiremen­t
Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requiremen­t

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