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Wrongful death suit against Pennsylvania racetrack and casino

A Pennsylvania racetrack and casino will be paying a huge sum after judgement in a wrongful death lawsuit. Nearly $8 million was awarded to the surviving widow of a horse jockey in the wrongful death suit. The decision was returned by a jury after a trial that lasted just under two weeks.

The 55-year-old man and his horse were practicing laps when chickens running around on the racetrack scared the horse. The jockey's foot got stuck in the stirrup after the horse bucked him off the saddle and he could not break free. The horse dragged him around the track, kicking him in several places as it ran. The injuries the jockey suffered eventually caused his death.

Because of another accident that resulted in injury, although not as severe, the plaintiff claims the owner and operators of the complex knew that chickens were often on the racetrack, but they did nothing to prevent further harm. The chickens had been brought to the area by horse owners who were using neighboring barns. A report did not state why there was no fencing secure enough to keep the chickens from wandering onto the racetrack.

While not all cases will necessarily see an award as generous as the one in this case, those in Pennsylvania who have lost a family member due to the negligence of another party have the right to request a fair amount of compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the owners of the racetrack would not admit their failure to provide a safe environment for horses and athletes, they were held financially liable to this family for what happened after the wrongful death trial proved successful. It is hopeful that they will work to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Jury awards $7.8 million to family of jockey killed on racetrack after horse was spooked by loose chickens", Jon Campisi, April 14, 2014

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