On 8th June 2015, Senior Partner at Express Solicitors, Robin Patey, was invited to appear as a guest speaker on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss the tragic accident that occurred at Alton Towers.
You can listen to the full interview on YouTube by watching the video below.
Alternatively you can read the transcript for the interview below.
Alton Towers has accepted full responsibility for the accident, is that an important part of making the claims process swifter?
You would certainly hope so; everyone involved would welcome this statement from Merlin. It would seem like a pretty clear cut and straightforward case but yes this is the first stage in any personal injury case, the need to establish liability. This kind of proof is usually something that the claimant (injured person) would need to establish to show that the other party was to blame for the accident. Therefore, this statement from Alton Towers is certainly a positive first step forward.
Why is a case like this so important, specifically in the case of someone who has suffered from a life changing injury?
All of the other people involved in the accident were young individuals, so probably in school or studying at college and this accident may well affect these studies, it may affect their long term career progression too, and all of those things would be taken into account by a court in terms of assessing compensation. Although it may well be a substantial amount of money that’s paid out to these victims, there are likely to be substantial losses as well, such as treatment losses. I think it’s helpful that Merlin have said they would support on-going rehabilitation that may be required. The NHS can be great at dealing with the initial traumatic stages after an accident, but often from my experience we find that it’s a few months down the line where sometimes the follow up isn’t as good as it could be, so that future rehabilitation is going to be very important particularly in an amputation case which is obviously very tragic.
Yeah they do say whether it’s from the NHS or additional support services that they’re prepared to send people from private treatment if that’s what’s deemed best for them.
Yes I mean they’re certainly saying all the right things at the moment which is to be welcome, but I’m sure there’s a media relations spin on that as well ,but they’ll probably put it in the hands of their insurers. I understand that the most severely injured people have already engaged solicitors, from my point of view that’s a very important thing at an early stage particularly with a life changing injury because early intervention really can be the key in terms of a good, long-term prognosis and a good recovery. That’s what frankly everybody would want, solicitors and insurance companies.
Just as a final brief thought, how much could this cost Alton Towers in terms of pay-outs?
Well, I imagine they’ve put it in the hands of their insurers so it’ll probably cost their insurers but there may be a very high excess on that or certainly in terms of a claims record going forward. Insurance always works from the basis of a claims record but certainly for the brief information that I’ve seen and I’m not representing any of these people but from what I’ve seen they’re certainly talking about six figures sums depending on the number of people involved and the long term prognosis. We’d hope the long-term prognosis would be good and we’d wish them all a speedy recovery but if it isn’t or there are problems in the future the bill could certainly run into hundreds of thousands if not millions depending on the number of people involved and the severity of the injuries.