Our expert solicitors secured a four figure compensation settlement for a woman who was left traumatised and injured when gates at Waterloo station malfunctioned and crushed her as she tried to pass through. The barriers closed up too early, pinning her in and leaving her with serious psychological scars. We fought to get her the compensation she needed to access the right care and support to help her cope after her ordeal.
Our client, Karen, was heading to an exhibition in London with her husband in 2012. They were in Waterloo station when the accident happened – as Karen was going through the ticket barriers, suddenly the gates snapped back without warning and trapped her between them.
One of her ribs cracked under the pressure as the gates clamped tighter. Karen was terrified she wouldn’t be able to escape and the gates would crush her to death. Her husband ran to alert station staff and at last someone was able to get her out.
The psychological impact of the event would last long after Karen’s physical injuries had healed. She developed an acute phobia of being trapped or enclosed, with a devastating effect on her social life. Now, Karen is unable to go on holiday or do other activities that she used to enjoy – the fear that she might become trapped again prevents her going out as she’d like to.
The damage caused to her torso also aggravated a respiratory condition that Karen already suffered from. Since her accident, Karen has experienced breathing difficulties and has trouble sleeping. She experiences regular nightmares and flashbacks.
Karen got in touch with our Accidents in Public Places team to see if we could help her get compensation and answers for what happened. We secured an admission of liability from Network Rail Infrastructure and a four figure settlement from them to help Karen get the support she needs to recover.
Although the barriers are fitted with sensors to make sure gates do not close before a person has fully passed through, in this case they malfunctioned – and staff were not quite quick enough to respond to Karen’s distress. The subsequent report of the incident recommended a more proactive approach from staff members to advise passengers to sue the wider gates wherever possible.
Louise Scott, an expert personal injury solicitor specialising in Public Places claims, represented Karen in her claim. She said: “This incident has understandably had quite an impact from both a physical and psychological point of view.
"The feeling of being out of control and trapped in the security barriers was both painful and terrifying for Karen – we are delighted to have secured a settlement for her to cover her pain and suffering, as well as covering the cost of the care and assistance she needed after the incident.
"Hopefully, lessons can be learned from this event and the subsequent report so nobody else will have to go through the same thing as Mrs O’Brien."
Karen said: "I felt absolutely helpless and feared for my life when the barriers closed on me. It all happened so fast and they showed no sign of stopping or opening.
"The incident has had a huge impact on my life and I have developed a phobia of being trapped. I also have regular nightmares and flashbacks about the incident.
"I'm extremely relieved that I can start to put the incident behind me thanks to the settlement. I hope that my case highlights the need for staff to be aware of the needs of passengers and to be in a position to act quickly should a gate error occur in the future."
If you’ve had an accident in a station or another public place, you can find more details of how we can help from our Accidents in Public Places team of experts. Or fill out our online form and someone will get back to you.
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