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Chambers and Partners (2014)

Coach Accident In Spain

More than £3million compensation recovered after coach accident in Spain

Irwin Mitchell represented 9 work colleagues who were passengers on a coach being driven through Spain in May 2002.   At approximately 2am the coach collided with the rear end of an articulated vehicle.  The coach driver was killed and each of the passengers was injured, some severely and permanently.  Injuries included soft tissue injuries to the upper body, fractured limbs and spine, head injuries, increased risk of early onset degenerative arthritis and psychological injury.  Our clients also suffered significant loss of earnings and other financial losses due to their injuries. 

Irwin Mitchell brought claims against the coach company on behalf of the 9 Claimants.  It was decided to initiate legal proceedings in the English courts, due to the significantly higher levels of damages that were likely to be awarded.  This is because several heads of damages which are allowed under English law are not recognised under Spanish law or attract much lower levels of compensation. 

The Defendant coach company admitted liability on the basis that their employer, the driver, had been negligent.  However, the Defendant tried to argue that the ‘applicable law’ (i.e. the law which should be used, amongst other things, to calculate the Claimants’ damages) was Spanish law.  If the Defendant has won this argument then the damages awarded to the Claimants would have been greatly reduced.  Irwin Mitchell successfully argued that the applicable law should be inferred from facts including the language and currency of the contract between the Claimants and the Defendant (both English). 

Following negotiations, and the gathering of a large amount of extremely complex evidence, Irwin Mitchell was able to settle the claims without going to trial.  The work mates recovered more than £3m in compensation, plus their legal costs.

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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