Laura's Trip Claim Settles for £40,705 (at sea)
Laura was travelling to Blackpool, England and the first leg of her journey involved taking the Stena Line ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan, Scotland. Upon arrival at the Scottish harbour, passengers were to make way to the car deck to disembark. Laura noticed the only way to get to the appropriate deck was to walk down a 6ft long ramp and there was no handrails on either side of it. As she walked down the ramp she tripped over metal trimming that was attached to each end of the ramp.
Laura was taken to Stranraer Community Hospital
The fall caused a shoulder injury and she was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with a dislocation following an x-ray. As a result her trip was cancelled and she was required to wear a sling for 3 months. Throughout this time she experienced severe ongoing pain that impacted every aspect of her life. Thankfully, Laura was a former client of Paschal O’Hare Solicitors and she did not hesitate to contact us once again.
Paschal O’Hare Solicitors initiates claim for compensation
Upon further investigation we established that the ramp in question was totally unsuitable for pedestrians and was actually designed for wheelchair users. The matter was investigated by Stena Line who did not accept liability but invited us to settlement negotiations based on economic grounds. We had Laura examined by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who provided us with a medical report of the injuries. The x-rays were reviewed and we also had Laura undertake a MRI scan by a consultant radiologist. This established that Laura had also suffered a rotator cuff tear in her shoulder.
The surgeon’s opinion was that the pain would persist in the absence of surgery and that if the rotator cuff was repaired there would be a 90% chance symptoms would be alleviated. An estimate of how much the surgery would cost was provided which amounted to £5,700. We sent this to Stena Line however they refused to make an offer of compensation and would not consider doing so until the surgery had been performed. This was unacceptable to our client and we issued High Court proceedings.
The defendant appoints their own solicitor
The proceedings were issued in Belfast despite the accident occurring in Scotland. Under the Athens Convention regarding sea travel, it is permissible for a plaintiff to sue for compensation in the jurisdiction where they embarked or disembarked. In addition, Stena Line carried out its business in Belfast and has a registered office in Northern Ireland.
Once proceedings were issued Stena Line appointed a defendant solicitor. The solicitor advised that negotiations were entered prior to a court date and we settled the case in the sum of £40,705.