Our client was an Airline Passenger who had just arrived at a Spanish airport and was disembarking from the aircraft. She descended the steps, which had been placed up against the aircraft and as she placed her right foot on the last step she twisted her right ankle and fell onto the tarmac below. The bottom step had a large dent in it, making the surface uneven, and as a result of the accident she sustained Injury to her right ankle and had to undergo x-rays and an MRI scan. This subsequently showed that she had torn a large ligament in her foot, which required surgery to repair it and our client suffered symptoms from her injuries for nearly two years following the accident. We were able to recover Personal Injury compensation for her of £15,000.
A brief summary of events is set out below.
Date of Accident: August 2012
Time between formal instruction and successful conclusion: We took on the case in May 2013 and once we had received full instructions from our client, we contacted the opponent’s insurers, detailing our client’s claim. They admitted liability for the accident straight away and agreed to meet the cost of the MRI scan required, subsequent surgery and rehabilitation treatment in the form of physiotherapy.
How the claim proceeded: Despite admitting liability very quickly and accepting responsibility for our client’s medical and rehabilitation costs, the opponent’s insurers offered a very low compensation sum to our client for her injuries. We then provided them with a medical report, prepared by a specialist consultant, which detailed our client’s ongoing symptoms as a result of the accident. The opponent’s insurers were still unwilling to offer a realistic financial compensation sum, so we had no option but to commence Court Proceedings.
Were Court proceedings necessary?: Yes, we commenced court proceedings in July 2014, with a subsequent court hearing date due to go ahead in May 2015.
Was a trial necessary?: No, just prior to the court hearing going ahead, the opponent’s insurers contacted us with a more realistic offer of financial compensation, which our client was happy to accept.
Outcome: The client secured £12,000 for her injuries and £3,000 for her financial losses, including travel expenses for her various hospital and physiotherapy treatments and care expenses following the accident and her surgery.
Comment: This case was quite unusual in that it happened outside of the UK. However, the airline was governed by the Montreal Convention, which was incorporated into English Law by the Carriage by Air Act 1961. As such, they were ultimately responsible for paying our client compensation for the injuries she sustained as a result of the accident. However, it is always vital to take expert legal advice before setting out on a claim, particularly if the accident has taken place in unusual circumstances such as this.
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