Lawyers Help Former Radiographer ‘Lucky To Get Out Alive’ Secure Settlement
A woman from Chelmsford, Essex has spoken about her ‘living nightmare’ after suffering serious injury in a coach crash in Spain that seven years on, has left her unable to return to her former career as a radiographer.
Sharon Knevett, 58, noticed the coach driver had fallen asleep and with the coach accelerating in heavy rain, she moved from her seat to rouse the driver. As she did the vehicle left the road. The coach travelling at roughly 55 mph veered off the Coast Road in the direction of Llobregat, striking a guardrail, a tree and a lamppost eventually overturning and falling onto the verge on its left side.
Sharon suffered a significant injury to her left shoulder girdle and chest. She also suffered fractures to her ribs and psychological injuries. She spent six days in hospital in Barcelona. Sharon was then taken home by land ambulance as she was unable to fly to the UK due to her punctured lung.
On returning to the UK, Sharon instructed a law firm. However, becoming concerned over the lack of progress, she contacted lawyers in Irwin Mitchell’s specialist International Serious Injury team. Sharon asked the team to take over her case and investigate and pursue a compensation claim for her injuries and the financial losses she suffered as a result of the crash.
The legal team has now secured Sharon a significant settlement, to reflect her pain and suffering, alongside her loss of earnings and to cover the cost of any future treatment she may require.
Sharon has joined with her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in using Road Safety Week to speak of how the settlement will allow her to focus on the future following the coach trip that changed her life.
Expert Opinion“Sharon’s life changed forever following the horrific coach crash. It left her with both mental and physical injuries that will be with her for the rest of her life.
“The last few years and coming to terms with what happened has been incredibly difficult, especially with the uncertainty as what recovery she may make. Following several dark and difficult years, we’re pleased to have secured Sharon this settlement which will ensure she can access the specialist support and rehabilitation she needs to maximise her recovery.
“Nothing can change what happened but we join Sharon in warning of the dangers of driving while tired and the need to take care on the roads at all times.” Jayne Murphy, Solicitor
On 14 September 2016, Sharon was injured in a road traffic accident whilst travelling as a passenger in a coach in Spain. She was travelling with her daughter on a transfer coach to Barcelona airport following their holiday.
Since the crash, Sharon has been unable to return to her career as a radiographer in the NHS. The nature of her injuries means she is now unable to lift both her arms overhead without pain and difficulty, making the moving of machinery and assisting of patients impossible.
Sharon said: “Despite the time that has passed, I’ll never forget that coach trip. It was torrential rain and it just seemed that the coach was going faster and faster.
“It didn’t make any sense to me and when I looked over at the driver, I was convinced he was falling asleep. I took off my seatbelt and moved down the coach to urgently rouse the driver. It’s not something you think about, but it felt like a life or death situation and as I reached him, I felt the coach was already out of control and I don’t remember much more until waking up in hospital.
“I think I and my fellow passengers were lucky to get out alive but the experience and my injuries mean that day changed the course of my life forever. I no longer have full mobility in my arms and this means I have been unable to return to the job that I love and worked so hard to qualify for.
"I still have flashbacks and nightmares. I believe that this will always be the case for me. I am in pain every day which is a constant reminder of not only the accident but the reason why I had to leave my dream job.
"If the driver was suitably rested and driving at an appropriate speed for the weather conditions this accident would not have happened, and my life would not have been turned upside down.
“The experience has been a living nightmare and while the settlement brings relief and some peace of mind, I don’t think any of us involved will fully get over that collision and its aftermath.
“I just hope that by speaking out drivers realise what can happen when driving while tired and how they can potentially pose a danger not only to themselves but other road users.”
The police report confirms that the probable cause of the accident was driving without due care and attention on the part of the driver of the coach and driving at excessive speed, which was inappropriate with regard to the state of the road due to heavy rain.
Whilst the Defendant admitted liability for the accident, it was suggested that Sharon contributed to her injuries by taking off her seatbelt when trying to rouse the driver. Whilst there is specific regulations and case law relating to wearing a seat belt Jayne Murphy successfully argued but for the driver’s negligence Sharon would have continued to sit down in her seat with her seatbelt on.
Road Safety Week, organised by the charity Brake, runs from 14-20 November. This year’s theme is Safer Road for All. For more information visit www.brake.org.uk/road-safety-week