Horse poo on the road

When travelling through a nearby village I came to a sharp bend and there was horse manure in lumps and spread over the road where the cars had driven over it. After about another 200 yards the traffic was all stopped. There was a hunt going on with horses and dogs on the road which we had to wait until they were in the field. If I had fallen off my bike through sliding in horse manure would I be able to claim against the hunt?
Phil Jones, Llantrisant

Answer

In order to successfully bring a claim you would need to establish (i) that the hunt and its members owed you, as another road user, a duty of care; (ii) that by failing to clean up the mess, they breached that duty; (iii) that the breach caused you loss (i.e. injury, and/or damage to your vehicle); and (iv) that the loss caused was not too remote.

In the circumstances you have described I think it would have been reasonably foreseeable that manure on a bend would cause a hazard to road users, in which case if you had fallen off I think that you would have a valid claim.  I would expect, at least initially, the hunt’s insurers to try and to contest the claim, probably on the basis that you couldn’t show it was definitely one of their horses that was responsible and even that this is a peril of countryside driving.

Unlike with dogs, there is no legal requirement for horse owners to clean up their animals’ mess; however section 161 of the Highways Act 1980, makes it an offence to deposit anything whatsoever on a highway which may injure or endanger other road users.

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