It should have been a wonderful, memorable day at a festival – but, for one young woman, it quickly became unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Unsafe practices and negligence by two of the companies involved in the festival caused her to suffer terrible injuries, leaving her scarred, and experiencing the after-effects of her accident for the rest of her life.
Truth Legal helped her in her fight for justice, recovering £105,000 from those responsible despite significant opposition.
Hannah* had been enjoying her day at the festival with her partner and, in the afternoon, was walking through the grounds along a designated walkway, with scores of other festival-goers.
She had just stopped to chat to someone and stepped slightly backwards when she was suddenly hit by a forklift-type vehicle called a telehandler. Her foot was pulled under the front wheel of the vehicle as it kept moving, dragging her down, and as she fell, she hit her head on the telehandler’s forks.
The driver was sat in an enclosed cab and didn’t seem to realise he had hit anyone. As the telehandler kept moving, Hannah was pulled along with it, caught by her foot and leg and in excruciating pain. It was only when Hannah’s partner saw what had happened and managed to alert the driver that he reversed the vehicle.
After receiving first aid at the scene, Hannah was taken to hospital.
She had suffered severe crushing injuries to her foot and ankle, with multiple fractures. The skin on her leg and foot had been de-gloved by the movement of the wheel – requiring Hannah to undergo a skin graft. This was just one of several operations that Hannah had to have to assist her recovery.
Hannah also developed psychological symptoms in the weeks that followed the incident; experiencing flashbacks, intrusive thoughts about the accident, changes in her personality, low mood, anxiety and panic attacks. She was later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Even when her physical injuries healed, she was left with ongoing pain in her joints, negative effects on her balance, and she is no longer able to run. She also had visible scarring on her leg, following the skin graft, and also on her head, caused by the cut she had sustained falling into the telehandler’s forks.
She decided to consult Truth Legal about her rights.
Truth Legal begins Hannah’s personal injury claim
Hannah spoke to Helen Beaumont, a specialist personal injury solicitor at Truth Legal, and told her about her situation.
Helen began gathering evidence, and arranged for medical reports to be written on Hannah’s injuries.
After investigating the matter, Helen was convinced that the accident could have been avoided if proper safety measures had been taken. The telehandler had been driving along a route used by pedestrians. Whilst vehicles often shared the route, it was usual for a banksman to accompany the vehicle, to watch out for any danger to pedestrians and to warn of them of the approaching vehicle. There had been no banksman with the telehandler, and the fact that the driver had not realised he had hit someone – until later alerted by Hannah’s partner – raised serious questions about whether he had been keeping a sufficient lookout himself.
Helen put together Hannah’s claim against several parties who might be considered responsible for the accident:
- The telehandler driver’s employers
- The festival’s organisers
- The company in charge of health and safety at the festival
The first of these – the telehandler driver’s employers – would be legally responsible for any negligent actions and failings of their employee (a legal principle known as vicarious liability).
The festival organisers, as occupiers of the land were responsible for the safety of members of the public attending, and so could be at fault for failing to ensure adequate safety standards.
Similarly the health and safety company were engaged by the festival organisers to implement safety measures at the festival, so they could also be liable for an accident if it resulted from them failing to do so.
In answer to the claim, all three denied liability, and argued amongst themselves who was responsible.
Helen kept fighting to resolve Hannah’s claim and to secure her the compensation she deserved. Court proceedings were issued, and a trial date was set to decide the matter.
Just before the trial took place, however, the driver’s employers and the festival organisers agreed to apportion responsibility between them and to settle Hannah’s claim, with the majority of fault being taken by the employers.
Compensated for her ordeal
Hannah’s injuries were the most prominent part of her claim; the pain and suffering she had endured and the effect of these injuries on her life. But Helen also helped Hannah to claim for other damages resulting from her injuries such as:
- Lost earnings – the severity of her injuries had prevented Hannah from working for some time, and restricted the number of shifts she could work when she did return.
- Care and assistance – for some time after the accident, Hannah was heavily reliant on the help of her partner with many daily activities.
- Future treatment costs – to help minimise the scarring
In total, Hannah received £105,000 in compensation.
Can Truth Legal help you?
If you have sustained a personal injury, it can change so much about your life in such a short space of time. If you think someone else was at fault for the harm you’ve suffered, Truth Legal may be able to help you to claim compensation.
Contact us today for a chat about your circumstances.
*All names have been changed to maintain the confidentiality of our client