Ohio Equine Sign Posting & Contract Language Requirements
Most states, including Ohio, have passed Equine Activity Liability Laws to protect equine professionals. These laws were created to encourage equine-related activities by giving the equine industry strong defenses against liability in the legal system.
The Ohio Equine Immunity Statute (ORC Ann. 2305.321) provides that an equine activity sponsor, equine activity participant, equine professional, veterinarian, farrier, or other person is not liable in damages in a tort or other civil action for harm that an equine activity participant allegedly sustains during an equine activity. This statute is a result of the legislature recognizing equine activities pose an inherent risk. This protection is provided to all through the statute. However, for further protection against liability, it is best to post signage and have solid liability waivers signed by all participants.
Post this Ohio Equine Liability Sign (compliant with OHIO REV. CODE § 2305.321) to further limit your liability in injury or death arising out of equine activities.
For further protection, the equine professional should also execute a written waiver.
A signed waiver of an equine activity if that equine activity participant or a parent, guardian, custodian, or other legal representative of that equine activity participant voluntarily executes, prior to the occurrence of the harm involved, prevents the equine activity participant who is the subject of that waiver from having a claim or cause of action upon which recovery of damages may be based against, and may not recover damages in a tort or other civil action against an equine professional or another person in whose favor the waiver was executed.
The written waiver is described in O.R.C. § 2305.321(C)(2) O.R.C. § 2305.321(C)(1). OR.C. § 2305.321(C)(2) provides a valid waiver shall be in writing and subscribed by the equine activity participant or the parent, guardian, custodian, or other legal representative of the equine activity participant, and shall specify at least each inherent risk of an equine activity that is listed in O.R.C. § 2305.321(A)(7)(a) to (e) and that will be a subject of the waiver of tort or other civil liability. O.R.C. § 2305.321(C)(2)(a). A waiver in the form described in this section shall remain valid until it is revoked in the manner described in division (C)(3) of this section.
A valid waiver in the form described in division (C)(2)(a) of this section may be revoked in writing by the equine activity participant or the parent, guardian, custodian, or other legal representative of the equine activity participant who executed the agreement. However, the revocation of the waiver does NOT affect the availability of the immunity conferred in Ohio by division (B)(1) of this section, which provides protection through the statute recognizing equine activity poses an inherent risk to all participants.
If you have any further Equine Law related questions, please contact our office. We would be happy to help.