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Ski Instructor Left Unable To Work After Coach Crash in France Says He Can Now Move On After Six-Figure Settlement From Tour Operator

55-year-old, has lived in constant pain since the fatal crash four years ago


A ski instructor, who was left unable to return to work after a fatal coach crash in France in 2012 in which dozens of British schoolchildren and schoolteachers were also injured, says he can finally start rebuilding his life after defendants to his claim finally admitted liability for the incident.

Steve Ratheram, from Yardley Wood, Birmingham, has agreed a six-figure settlement with Interschool Travel Limited, trading as ‘Interski’, the company that arranged for Steve’s attendance on the ski trip, and Solus Coaches Limited, the coach company that supplied the coaches to Interski and which employed the driver of the coach, Derek Thompson. 

Steve, 55, was one of 25 passengers who instructed expert international personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell, to pursue a claim for compensation following the crash which took place near Chalons-en-Champagne, 90 miles east of Paris on February 19, 2012.

The coach was carrying children and teachers from Alvechurch School, near Birmingham, as well as local ski instructors including Steve, who were returning from a skiing trip in Pila, Italy. 

One teacher was killed in the crash and many of the passengers were left seriously injured, including Steve who suffered a head injury, a burst lumbar fracture, which required surgery to have metalwork fused to his spine, tendon damage to both shoulders, which also required surgery, other orthopaedic injuries and emotional trauma. His injuries have left him in significant pain and unable to return his pre-accident work.

Steve has had to endure a variety of rehabilitative therapies including physiotherapy, psychotherapy, speech and language therapy and hydrotherapy.

He said: “For more than four years, I have been waiting for Interski or the coach company to admit responsibility for my life-changing injuries. Now that I finally have that admission and an agreement to settle, I have peace of mind that I will be able to fund any therapies and support that I might need in the future.


“My injuries have left me unable to work so the fact that my lawyers have also secured a settlement including loss of earnings for me is a great relief. I can finally get on with my life.”

Irwin Mitchell has already secured settlements for many passengers injured in the incident along with vital interim payments of compensation for a number of others, which has funded much needed therapies, aids, appliances and adaptions to housing, as well as the reimbursement of other expenses which have been incurred since the crash.

Experts at the legal firm said it was a long-awaited victory for the Steve, who was dealt a further blow last year when Interski formally accepted responsibility for the injuries caused to school children and teachers, but continued to deny liability for causing his injuries. 

Expert Opinion
“We are very pleased that Interski and Solus have finally accepted responsibility for Steve’s injuries and agreed the terms of a financial settlement, even though it is very disappointing that they have only done so after four years.

"This delay meant that Steve, who had already waited for so long, had to endure further delay and months of uncertainty after Interski had already accepted responsibility for the injuries caused to our other clients.

“Several of our clients have been left with serious and life-changing injuries as a result of the coach crash and, like Steve, have had to fight to be able to recover compensation."

“Steve suffered multiple serious injuries which have dramatically changed his life. Steve has worked incredibly hard and has shown tremendous courage and determination in seeking to overcome his injuries. He has been an inspiration to many who know him.

The resolution of Steve's claim should enable him to move forward positively with his life and give him the financial security he deserves. ”
Cheryl Palmer-Hughes, Associate

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