For British holidaymakers who are injured overseas, obtaining justice can prove a significant challenge. However, as the case of a woman who suffered a life-changing accident on her Spanish honeymoon showed, specialist personal injury lawyers are nothing if not determined in bringing negligence to light.
The middle-aged woman was descending an inadequately lit concrete staircase at the hotel where she and her new husband were staying when she fell, sustaining severe fractures to her left knee and right heel. She underwent extensive surgery in Spain before being flown back to the UK by air ambulance.
After she launched personal injury proceedings in England, the hotel's Spanish public liability insurers were at first non-committal, but eventually admitted liability. However, the case was further complicated by the fact that the value of her claim had to be assessed under Spanish law.
The High Court noted that, for about four months after the accident, she was incapable of doing almost anything for herself. Despite further gruelling treatment, she reported continuing pain and having to wear a knee brace at all times. Unable to kneel or manage stairs, her injuries had an impact on her ability to play with her young grandchildren and to enjoy her pre-accident hobbies of running and walking.
Having ruled in principle on the value of various aspects of her claim – including the impact on her mental wellbeing and quality of life – the Court invited both sides to consult their Spanish law experts with a view to providing a final calculation of the compensation due to her.