A former WA jockey is locked in a legal battle with insurers over a catastrophic race fall in Esperance five years ago which ended his career.
Kalgoorlie man Russell Hanson was thrown from his horse, Get off the Couch, on Boxing Day 2012, after another rider allowed her horse to ride across his.
Russell Hanson at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club. Photo: Supplied
The other jockey later pleaded guilty to careless riding at a Steward's Inquiry.
Mr Hanson suffered a range of serious injuries in the fall including fractures, torn muscles and ligaments in his left ankle, nerve damage in his neck and two fractured ribs.
'If only we had all known': Our DIY obsession's horror death toll
'My life put on hold': WA woman welcomes ban on dangerous table top burners
He's also suffered from depression since the incident.
Mr Hanson has filed a writ in the WA District Court, claiming personal injuries, loss and damages suffered as a result of the fall.
But the 50-year-old is facing an uphill battle because insurers for the guilty rider are denying he has a claim.
Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox.
Mr Hanson's legal team says the claim is being rejected on the basis he was participating in a high-risk activity, terming it a "dangerous recreational activity".
"I was four lengths wide and then the other horse came right across mine and clipped its front legs out," Mr Hanson said of the 2012 incident.
"I remember the doctor turning around and telling me I would never ever ride again, which was a big shock to me.
"I've ridden for 30 years since I left school...but I haven't been able to ride since the accident. It was my livelihood."
Mr Hanson has sought the assistance of Slater and Gordon lawyers to help with his claim.
"I'm still on medication; it's costing me money all the time," he added.
"I'm still not mended 100 per cent.
"I reckon I've been wrongly dealt with so far."
Lawyer Kenneth Rukunga said Mr Hanson's long list of injuries would plague him for the rest of his life.
"When he came to see us, he was in a world of hurt," Mr Rukunga said.
"He was very psychologically disturbed by the inability to get on a horse, as he had been trained to do.
"It is simply unjust for an insurer to deny him justice for an incident that occurred in the course of his work. Mr Hanson was not engaging in a recreational activity, he was participating in a professional event.
"I am concerned we will start seeing a trend where insurers and their legal representatives will dispute a lot of professional men's and women's sporting injuries terming them as accepting the risk of participating in a dangerous recreational activity."
Lawyers representing the other rider and her insurers said on Tuesday they could not discuss the case.