Compensation after ski collision causes serious leg injury

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Compensation after ski collision causes serious leg injury

10th April 2012

A skier who suffered severe damage to her leg when a snowboarder ploughed into her on a French mountain has received £34,000 in an out of court settlement.

Rebecca Gilmore, a holiday accident expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the North Yorkshire woman endured three years of pain following the incident, which happened when she was holidaying alone in the French Pyrenees. She was enjoying only the second day of her ski trip when the incident occurred more than four years ago.

“My client had skied only about 150 yards down a run when she pulled up to take in the view,” said Rebecca, a solicitor with the firm. “As she stood on the piste, she was struck and thrown to the ground when a snowboarder crashed into her at speed.

“The shock of the impact was tremendous and my client clearly heard the sickening crack of something in her left leg snapping,” said Rebecca. “She described being in the most horrific pain she had ever experienced and thought her leg was broken. She remembers screaming while the man who had hit her apologised and tried to explain that he hadn’t been able to stop.”

The injured woman was brought down off the mountain by the emergency services and taken to the local medical centre. When she arrived, she remembers being in a state of shock and not knowing who to call. But after a splint was placed around her leg, she phoned her insurance company who arranged for her to be flown back to the UK, collected at the airport and taken home by ambulance.

“When she arrived home, her leg and knee had swollen up like a balloon,” said Rebecca. “She was in a lot of pain, and the next day she attended her local hospital. The ligaments in her leg had simply snapped, and her leg was placed in a cast for the following six weeks.

“My client lived with her husband and two children in a very remote area,” said Rebecca. “Reliant on a wheelchair to get around, she was unable to dress, wash, or go to the bathroom unaided and had to rely on her husband to do everything around the house, including looking after the children’s needs. In a nutshell, everything my client was accustomed to doing in her normal day-to-day life simply came to a halt. She found it particularly upsetting not being able to carry or play with her daughter, who was only three at the time.”

After six weeks, the cast was taken off and the victim was fitted with a hinged brace before undergoing a further six months of intensive physiotherapy. However, after 18 months she was still unable to kneel or bend her leg whilst sitting down and she would often wake in the middle of the night due to the extreme pain in her knee.

“It took almost three years before my client was able to walk for more than a mile without pain,” said Rebecca. “Previously, she led a very active life and was a keen rambler who regularly walked for more than five miles at a time. Although she has now recovered her mobility, she is still unable to cover the kind of distances she was used to prior to her injury.”

When the insurers of the snowboarder responsible for colliding with the claimant admitted liability, Rebecca secured £34,000 in damages on behalf of her client.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to holiday accidents and illness.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.