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April 7th 2020

Accidents & Illness Abroad

Holidaymaker awarded £10,000 damages for injuries after fall on transport bus at airport

Paul McClorry

Paul McClorry

Head of Travel Litigation

Holidaymaker awarded £10,000 damages for injuries after fall on transport bus at airport

A 70-year-old holidaymaker has been awarded £10,000 damages after being thrown from her seat when travelling on a minibus transporting passengers from the airport to board the plane.

A 70-year-old holidaymaker has been awarded £10,000 damages after being thrown from her seat when travelling on a minibus transporting passengers from the airport to board the plane.

The woman had been on her way back to the UK following a holiday in Tenerife with her family when the bus, which had no workable seatbelts, stopped suddenly and caused her to fall off her seat and to the floor.

Although she suffered no broken bones, the woman took the majority of the impact on her right shoulder, elbow and wrist, and has suffered from long term pain and difficulties since.

Despite her accident, which happened in September 2017, she travelled home on her scheduled flight.

She attended hospital in the UK the following day as she was suffering pains in her arms, wrists and shoulders and was found to have suffered a sprained wrist and a damaged rotator cuff.

As part of a legal case against TUI Airways Ltd, led by the accidents abroad team at Hudgell Solicitors, it was alleged that the incident exacerbated the woman’s previous shoulder problems due to osteoarthritis.

Although she had suffered some pain in previous years, the woman says they became much worse after the accident, so much so that more than a year after she was still receiving treatment and was on eight painkillers a day.

She was advised by medical experts to have shoulder replacement surgery, however, given her age, she decided against surgery and opted for physiotherapy and painkillers.

‘Montreal Convention’ protects people injured during international air travel

Now, following legal action against TUI Airways, led by solicitor Paul McClorry, a specialist in supporting people injured abroad, the woman has been awarded £10,000 damages for her pain and suffering.

Mr McClorry said that although his client had suffered no broken bones, the impact of the injuries she suffered had been significant.

He said that under Article 17 of the Montreal Convention, airlines are held ‘strictly liable’ for any accidents which are ‘unusual’ or ‘unexpected’ during international air travel, meaning there is no need to establish negligence.

“This accident has had a significant impact on my client’s health for some time so I was pleased that the Defendant offered a suitable settlement without the need to take the case to court,” said Mr McClorry.

“The Montreal Convention is a very specific and powerful piece of pro-consumer law, under which there is no actual need to establish negligence, just that the unexpected accident happened and injuries were suffered.

“It is of course concerning that injuries of this nature were able to happen. It was a frightening experience for our client who has suffered many flashbacks and felt she was perhaps fortunate not to have hit her head and suffered further, serious injury.”

Woman still suffers from anxiety and flashbacks

Recalling her accident, the woman said: “Once on the minibus I reached for a seat belt and there did not appear to be one. The minibus driver suddenly jammed on the brakes. I was thrown forward with considerable force on to the ridged metal floor of the minibus

“There were no seats immediately in front of me to break my fall. There was no seatbelt to lessen the impact. I landed face down on my knees and arms with my right shoulder and arm bent under me. My left arm was bent, but not under me.

“I was badly shaken and wobbly. The Captain came to see me and we decided that I was fit enough to fly home. He did offer for me to be seen by a doctor and the option of another flight, both of which I declined. I just wanted to go home.

“I have ongoing pain and stiffness in my right shoulder. These symptoms have not yet resolved but are managed with my ongoing chiropractic treatment. The rotator cuff cannot be repaired.

“Prior to the incident I very occasionally took painkillers. I was able to do what I wanted and needed to do. I was very active and busy. I now cannot get out of my bath as I have insufficient leverage strength.

“Dressing and dealing with my hair are not pain free. I have ongoing pain in my left shoulder and stiffness. My left shoulder has a ligament which is torn away from where it is supposed to be. I periodically get pins and needles in this arm, but it is not painful as my right shoulder. I did not have these problems prior to the accident.

“I am still suffering with anxiety and flashbacks as a result of this accident. I am anxious on public transport, mainly buses, which I use several times each week.

“I also used to be able to play with and pick up my granddaughter. Now we have to do more gentle activities. I cannot pick her up and have not been able to do so since the accident.”

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