01482 778 463
Established since 1997
No Win No Fee
Award Winning Specialists
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Case Stories | Hudgell Solicitors secure landmark €1.75m international injury case

Hudgell Solicitors secure landmark €1.75m international injury case

Man pumping up plane tire


Hudgell Solicitors has secured a landmark legal victory – which included the setting of an international precedent for future cases – by securing a German aircraft worker who lost an arm and a leg at a UK airport €750,000 in personal injury compensation.

The case, handled by senior lawyer Jane Woodcock, has taken four years to settle on behalf of the injured engineer, with the law firm having to battle for the case to be  heard under English law.

Having initially appeared to be a straight-forward case in terms of identifying liability, it soon became the most complicated of Mrs Woodcock’s 30-year career – involving firms of solicitors, barristers and witnesses in the both UK and in Germany, and ending in a High Court of Justice ruling in London.

The engineer, who was highly experienced and worked for the German airline, had been called to service to a tyre under the nose of an aircraft at Manchester airport when the accident happened in November 2008.

He was handed a faulty nitrogen rig by a ground handling company based at the airport – which wrongly measured pressure in BAR rather than the internationally used psi – leading to the tyre inflating to a pressure 14 times higher than expected. Standing less than a metre away at the time, the worker lost an arm and a leg when the tyre exploded.

An 18-month investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau confirmed the rig used, which had been supplied by the UK firm, had been faulty, and Hudgell Solicitors started representing the victim in March 2010.

However, the matter became complicated when the ground-handling company joined the German airline as a co-defendant to the claim, pointing to a signed contractual Agreement between them which contained an indemnity clause in relation to liability for accidents.

This left the possibility of the case having effectively to be pursued against the German employer and to be decided under German law, which operates in a very different way with regard to employer’s liability claims.

Claims are not able to be brought against German employers unless they can categorically be proved to have been ‘grossly negligent’, which on the facts of this accident was not the case.

“Despite the severity of the injuries sustained I initially thought this would be a straight-forward case on liability, but in the end it was without doubt the most complicated of my career, involving solicitors and barristers on behalf of insurers in England and Germany, High Court hearings and much delicate and complicated negotiation,” said Mrs Woodcock.

“The crux of the matter was whether or not the case should be decided under German law, and this potentially had a huge impact not only on my client in terms of the settlement he would be entitled to, but also in terms of the repercussions for all other parties involved.”

The matter was further complicated by the operation of the German Social Accident Insurance system and the relevant German Social Accident Insurance body seeking to recover their financial outlay in relation to cost of care, prosthetics, lost earnings, aids and equipment already provided and to be provided in the future to the victim – a figure in excess of one million euros.

This left Mrs Woodcock’s client in danger of missing out on substantial damages he was entitled to under English law, but she dedicated much of the next two years to ensuring this didn’t happen, often snowed under a mountain of paperwork from all parties involved at her desk in Hull.

The applicable law argument was resolved in the High Court of Justice in London, where His Honour Judge Brian C Forster QC found in favour of her client and the English Defendant.

Ordering that the case be determined under English law, he stressed the airline could not ‘rely upon exclusions and limitations around German Social Accident Insurance’.

He also concluded that the UK-based ground-handling company’s claim against the airline should also be considered under English Law, together with the German Social Accident Insurance’s claim against the two firms.

With a trial date set for March 2014 for a judge to value compensation, the German airline and UK ground handling company contacted Mrs Woodcock and agreed a joint settlement, for her client totalling €750,000.

They also settled with the German Social Accident Insurance, taking the total value of the case to €1.75m.

“This was a really complicated case, but one in which we knew we had to win to secure our client the damages he deserved,” said Mrs Woodcock.

“It has now set a precedent for future cases involving German employed nationals sustaining injury whilst working in the UK.

“In the end the two defendants came to an agreement as to how they settled the damages payable to my client and the offer came to us without saying how much each had paid.

“We were just delighted to bring the case to a successful conclusion for our client, who through his sheer determination to overcome his catastrophic injuries is still working today, and we have to say has been very well supported by his employers throughout the matter, finding him a new role and providing full support and re-training.”

Read about this case in the Manchester Evening News.

The Author

author image

Jane Woodcock

Senior Legal Executive and Head of Personal Injury

jw@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request a callback from a solicitor

 I am an existing client.









Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Professional staff

"Professional staff They keep me updated all the time Very good service Definitely recommended"

Mr Daniel Pantiru

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Straightforward and efficient

"I had the pleasure of having Sarah Colgrave as my solicitor. She was very accomodating,… "

Miss Rhianna Higham

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

An absolutely brilliant team of people

"An absolutely brilliant team of people! So kind a and helpful. Always putting their clients… "

Miss Chloe Ahad

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

very helpful & understanding

"very helpful & understanding"

Mrs Pauline Elliott

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great firm to deal with

"Great firm to deal with, attentive and on the ball, everyone was always pleasant and… "

Karen Barnard

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Quicker than expected

"They were friendly, helpful when needed. Everything was done as expected all in black and… "

Mr W

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent Company.

"I would like to thank Hudgell Solicitors for a very professional approach and caring attitude… "

paul baker

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Would highly recommend

"Would highly recommend"

Toyah johnson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

They understood the issues in my case…

"They understood the issues in my case and dealt with the matter in a very… "

Mrs Zena Haroon

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I must say

"I must say, the experience was pleasant and everyone I spoke to was lovely and… "

F Cole

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Professional & helpful throughout the…

"Professional & helpful throughout the process"

Mr Darron Sunman

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Absolutely Fantastic

"Absolutely Fantastic! Case took a lot less time than expected and the outcome was a… "

Danielle

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

8spot on service

"8spot on service"

Mr Alan Walker

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I am extremely happy with the…

"I am extremely happy with the professionalism and friendly service I received from Sam Thompson… "

Mr Phillip Ivory

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great service always friendly

"Great service always friendly. Always kept up to date with my claim. Every time frame… "

Mr Sean Quinn

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

A big thank you to all at hudgell…

"A big thank you to all at hudgell solicitors, the process of my injury claim… "

Mr christopher beavers

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors were there when I needed them

"I would highly recommend Hudgell Solicitors to anyone in the unfortunate position of requiring legal… "

Mr Anthony O

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors were so helpful…

"Hudgell Solicitors were so helpful through the whole process. they advised me on the best… "

Mr David Branton

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very efficient and friendly service

"Very efficient and friendly service"

Mrs Lorraine Firth

Rated 9.4 out of 10 based on 434 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

VIEW DETAILS

© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90