Boy Severely Injured in Open-Top Bus Tragedy Receives Compensation


Accidents that happen abroad often present particular difficulties for personal injury lawyers. However, as the case of a young boy who almost died when an open-top tour bus was driven into an overhanging tree branch showed, there are few challenges that cannot be overcome.

The boy and his father were on the bus’s unprotected top deck when the accident occurred overseas. There was evidence that the bus driver had been using drugs and that the vehicle had deviated from its allotted route. Several other passengers died or were seriously injured and the incident had triggered a number of other compensation claims in foreign jurisdictions.

The boy, who is approaching his teens, suffered multiple skull fractures and bruising to his brain. He needed emergency antibiotic treatment to save his life. Thanks to his parents’ devoted care, he has made a remarkably good recovery, but he remains a very different boy than he was prior to the incident. He has some difficulty walking and there was evidence of personality change and diminished intellectual ability.

The bus’s insurers did not dispute liability, but the case was made more demanding by the fact that the accident occurred in a foreign country. The case was subject to the laws of that country, where an overall insurance indemnity limit of 6,070,000 euros applied in respect of all claims arising from the incident.

A settlement of the boy’s claim was negotiated for a substantial portion of that sum. Due to the insurers’ ongoing negotiations with other claimants, the precise sum that the boy would receive was kept confidential. On any view, however, it was a life-changing amount of money.

Approving the settlement, the High Court observed that, given the number and scale of the claims arising from the accident, the insurance indemnity limit was not so high as it appeared to be and was likely to be exceeded. In those circumstances, the boy’s father had been very well advised to accept the settlement offer.

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