Skiing Accident Compensation Claim
A Sheffield woman, whose skiing holiday in France was wrecked after a fall left her with a severe knee injury, has won damages of £15,000 for he skiing injury against First Choice Holidays.
51-year-old Lynn Birch from Sheffield, went on a week long package holiday in March 2002, which included the hire of all the equipment and adult ski school lessons, staying in the French ski resort of Serre Chevalier.
Mrs Birch, who had been skiing on a number of previous occasions, was placed in an intermediate group, which she felt was an appropriate class for her ability.
Negligent skiing instructor
However, on the fifth day of ski lessons, her instructor took the group up a steep drag-lift to a location which offered only two black runs, both of maximum difficulty, one being a mogulled run, as the means of decent. She was instructed to descend the black mogulled run. Mrs Birch had never negotiated a black mogulled run before and she received no instruction either prior to or at the time from her instructor on how to tackle this type of run.
Mrs Birch's only choice was to attempt the descent. Lack of proper instruction and experience, however, meant that she fell on a couple of occasions. It was on her second fall that she seriously injured her left knee. Despite receiving treatment in the resort, and intensive physiotherapy once back home, she had to undergo an operation to reconstruct her anterior cruciate ligament, followed by further intense physiotherapy.
Mrs Birch commented: "I have been skiing on several occasions and class myself as an intermediate skier. I would have never attempted such a difficult run as a black mogulled run. Not only do I think the instructor was wrong to take the group on that particular run but we did not even receive proper instruction. I am still in pain and have had to undergo months of treatment. What started off as a dream holiday unfortunately turned into a nightmare."
Skiing injury legal advice
Lynn Birch's legal representative, Debbie Tyler, a travel litigation expert from national law firm Irwin Mitchell, explained: "Mrs Birch put her trust in a reputable holiday company but she was not given adequate instruction when facing a dangerous black run for the first time on her holiday. We handle claims for many clients who are injured in skiing accidents although most of them settle with compensation being paid without the need for court proceedings.
"In Mrs Birch's case, First Choice denied liability to compensate her for over 4 years. This meant that we were forced to take her case all the way to trial for her. I am delighted that she has now won the compensation she deserves. I hope that other tour operators take note of this case and ensure that they take steps to avoid similar incidents in the future. Holidays are meant to be enjoyable with memories and photographs as reminders of the experience as opposed to pain and hospital treatment."