Michael Warshauer Wins $137,500 For Injured Horse Rider

Michael Warshauer Wins $137,500 For Injured Horse Rider May 7, 2019

Under Georgia traffic law, “a horse is treated like a car”. This fact was central to the 1990 case that Warshauer Law Group Partner Michael Warshauer worked on to secure compensation for the horseman, Earl Patterson, who was injured in a car-animal collision in Atlanta according to the Fulton County Daily Report.

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The Collision: Horse Meets Pontiac Sunbird

The encounter occurred on Dill Avenue after another horse rider passed an intersection. When Patterson’s horse followed this rider while under a yellow light, Patterson was struck by a 1986 Pontiac Sunbird.

The collision caused $1,120 in damages to the vehicle and flung Patterson from his horse. Damages to the vehicle included a hoofprint on the truck and a dent in the pillar supporting the rear windshield due to the vehicle colliding with the horse’s chest. In Patterson’s case, the incident resulted in various injuries, including two broken wrists that required multiple surgeries to repair.

Litigating a Georgia Car Accident Claim

During the trial, disputes arose regarding the traffic light signal during the collision. The driver and a police officer testified that the Pontiac had a green light to proceed and Patterson had a red light. However, Warshauer challenged these testimonies and found the officer could not remember the number of horses involved in the incident, helping to support his client’s version of events in the eyes of the court.

Is a Horse of Course a Horse?

In order to accommodate for the unique nature of this case, jurors were informed that they should view the horse as a car, in accordance with Georgia traffic law. To facilitate this interpretation, Warshauer kept the jury focused on negligence and never mentioned the horse by name (Leo’s Thrill Seeker) during the trial.

Warshauer and the presiding trial judge noted they had never seen a case like this. Still, the jury returned a finding in Patterson’s favor, granting him $137,000 in damages.

Help for Injured Georgians

Every injury case brings with it a unique set of facts and circumstances. To advocate for their client’s best interests, injury attorneys need to approach each case with compassion and—sometimes—a little creativity.

This case speaks to the legal diligence practiced at Warshauer Law Group in both these regards. If you or a loved one has been injured due to another’s negligence, contact Warshauer Law Group today to explore what legal options may be available.

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