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Brother And Sister Injured In School Trip Coach Crash Finally Get The Compensation They Deserve

Irwin Mitchell’s professional negligence team have secured awards of £25000 and £30000 for Nicholas Oakley and his sister who were injured during a school trip in 2001.

Nicolas and his sister were both under 18 when the accident happened on the school trip. The coach the children were travelling on in Austria skidded on ice and was then hit by another vehicle. The force of the crash threw Nicholas out of the coach resulting in a compression fracture in Nicholas's spine. His sister also sustained injures.

Following the crash, the children were taken to a local hospital. Unfortunately, the Austrian doctors did not recognise Nicholas’ fracture, which remained untreated until a UK doctor identified the injury. As a result of the injuries he sustained, Nicholas is no longer able to play water polo, having been a county level swimmer prior to the accident, and his sister has had to give up dressage, despite once hoping to pursue a career in the sport.

The pair faced further failings when they appointed solicitors to pursue a claim for them. The law on how long someone has to make a claim following an accident, known as limitation, is different in Austria. In the UK a child has 3 years from their 18th birthday, in Austria; a person only has 3 years, whatever their age.  The solicitors initially appointed did not recognise the differences between UK and Austrian law and allowed limitation to expire, meaning they could not make a claim.

Fortunately, Irwin Mitchell were able to turn the case around, commissioning an expert on Austrian law to advise how the damages could have been awarded under Austrian law, had limitation not expired,  and obtaining specialist medical evidence demonstrating how the accident has impacted their lives.

Now Nicholas and his sister have the compensation they are owed but this could have been a very different story had they not instructed the specialist solicitors at Irwin Mitchell who are familiar with cross boarder legal issues. Because they had a strong case and acted promptly, Irwin Mitchell was able to get them the justice they deserved.

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"I just wanted to send you a short note to thank you very much indeed to our solicitor for managing to settle this for me – it’s really very much appreciated. You did so in a very professional, helpful and efficient manner."

Stephen, London