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Our Skiing Injury Claims experts have recovered a five figure settlement to help a talented young footballer recover from a terrifying accident on a ski lift in the French Alps.
Thomas Giddings, 25, was taking a break from his studies at the University of Nottingham at the Val Thorens Ski Resort in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville. He and a friend got on the ski lift at 16:40, hoping to get in one last run before night drew in. The lift suddenly stopped only 200m from the top, leaving the two skiers dangling in mid-air in –16℃ conditions.
Daylight was quickly fading and Tom and his friend tried to keep warm while they waited for the empty lift to restart. There was hardly anyone on the slope and after no one came to help after half an hour, they began to panic. Tom tried to phone the emergency number provided on his ski pass but no one responded and he was simply given a recorded message in French.
The two skiers could feel themselves getting colder and were worried about developing hypothermia. They decided that they had no alternative but to jump down from the lift. Tom’s friend jumped first and landed safely on the snow below. When Tom jumped, however, the impact shattered the bones in his leg so forcefully that one bone pierced his skin.
Ski Patrol then finally appeared and stretchered Tom to the medical centre. He was later transferred to hospital where he had surgery to mend his bones with metal inserts. He stayed in hospital in France for 5 days before being transferred to the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. Once discharged from hospital, Tom spent the next 18 months on crutches and underwent physiotherapy to repair the damage to his leg.
Prior to the accident, Tom was a semi-professional player for Barwell Football team in Leicester and also represented Nottingham University in their first team. However, his injuries meant that he has been unable to reach the same high standards again. The accident also left Tom struggling with his university studies and has affected his exam performance.
Tom contacted our personal injury solicitors and we began court proceedings against the company responsible for operating the lift. We secured a five figure sum to compensate Tom for his ordeal and help fund further rehabilitation.
Nicola Southwell, Tom’s specialist solicitor from law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said: “Tom, who was an experienced skier, found himself in a vulnerable and potentially very dangerous position when he and his friend became stranded on that ski lift.
“Although his injury has affected his life, in that it left him unable to play the sport he loved at the same level, it doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened if hypothermia had set in or if he’d suffered worse injuries when he jumped. Incidents like this illustrate why ski resorts and tour operators need to adhere to strict safety standards.”
Tom said: “It was terrifying being left up on that lift as it got darker and colder. We thought someone would have heard us calling for help but none came which is why we felt there was no other option than to jump for it. It wasn’t until my dad, who is a GP, came to visit me in hospital, that I realised how lucky I’d been.
“Although I am grateful to be alive, the accident has changed my life and stopped me from playing football anywhere near as well as I used to and nothing can turn back the clock. I just hope lessons are learned at all ski resorts from what happened to me.”
If you have been involved in an accident while on a ski holiday, our accidents & illness abroad solicitors may be able to help you make a ski accident claim. Call us free on 0370 1500 100 to find out more.
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