A holidaymaker, who broke his leg in a fall from a ski lift, has received a five-figure settlement of compensation for an accident at a ski resort.
In December 2010, Tom Giddens (25) from Solihull in the West Midlands was on a skiing holiday at the Val Thorens Ski Resort in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France. As the light was beginning to fade, Tom and a friend got on the ski lift in order to go up the slope for one final run.
The ski lift stopped 200 feet from the top of the slope – stranding Tom and his friend in temperatures of -16 degrees. After waiting unsuccessfully for the ski lift to start, Tom rang the emergency number for the ski lift operator, but only connected to a recorded message.
Fearing hypothermia, the two men decided to jump from the ski lift onto the snow below. Tom´s friend negotiated the jump without incident, but the impact of the fall shattered broke Tom´s leg. Fortunately help arrived quickly, and Tom was taken to Moutiers Hospital where he had a metal rod inserted into his leg to help the broken bone heal.
Five days after his accident, Tom was flown back to the UK, where he continued his recovery at the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. He was discharged on crutches and had to undergo eighteen months of physiotherapy. Tom sought legal advice and claimed compensation for an accident at a ski resort against the ski lift operator Societe D’Exploitation des Telepheriques Tarantaise-Maurienne.
The claim for compensation for an accident at a ski resort – made on the grounds that the ski lift operator had failed to adhere to safety standards – was initially contested. But, once court proceedings were issued in France, a settlement was agreed for an undisclosed five-figure amount. Speaking after his claim had been resolved, Tom said:
“It was terrifying being left up on that lift as it got darker and colder. We thought someone would have heard us calling for help but none came which is why we felt there was no other option than to jump for it. It wasn’t until my dad, who is a GP, came to visit me in hospital that I realised how lucky I’d been.”