Margaret and her husband decided to take a tour on the Thames on a cruise boat, but while Margaret was disembarking the Millennium City at Tower Pier in East London, her foot was trapped between the boat and the pier and was subsequently crushed as the boat moved with the wash caused by passing river traffic.
She sustained severe orthopaedic injuries, including multiple fractures and de-gloving, and required emergency surgery at the Royal London Hospital and further surgery after she had returned home to Australia, including a skin graft to her foot.
Not only that, but Margaret is also diabetic, meaning there was a risk of future breakdown of the skin graft.
Once instructed, Jennifer contacted City Cruises, the owner and operator of the boat, but the company denied liability for Margaret's injuries throughout the case.
On Margaret's behalf, we argued that City Cruises should have had a gangway for passengers to disembark safely or, alternatively, that the disembarkation procedure was unsafe in that passengers were not properly supervised/assisted in getting on and off the boat. CCTV obtained clearly showed bunching of passengers waiting to get on and off.
The defendant argued that gangways were not common practice on the Thames, except on the Clipper. We argued that the standard for operating their boats should be the same as that for river cruises more generally in the UK, which showed that gangways were in use on the majority of other rivers and river cruises.
The liability aspect was very tricky and, despite liability never being admitted, Jennifer reached a 5-figure settlement for Margaret.
Following settlement, Margaret's daughter said:
"Thank you all at Fieldfisher for handling mum's case from your first visit to her in hospital and then from 15,000km away once we were repatriated home to Australia.
You have all been accommodating, professional and emotionally supportive throughout all our video conferences, as well as organising all mum's appointments with specialists during a pandemic. Mum can now get on with her life much happier and relaxed.
'We would really like to thank Jennifer Kelly, who was the engine behind getting the case to the end of its journey."
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