A woman, who suffered a debilitating back injury due to the negligence of a tour boat operator, has settled her claim for a fractured back on holiday out of court.
Fifty-three year old Carol Smith was on holiday in Mexico with her husband in June 2011 after coming through a session of radiotherapy treatments to help her beat cancer. As the highlight of the holiday, the couple had pre-booked a boat trip to swim with whale sharks; but, as their boat headed out into the Cancun sea, the weather changed dramatically and started to become stormy.
As the wind created ever-growing waves, several of the passengers aboard the boat were sick and the captain was asked to cancel the trip and head back to shore. The requests were refused and an hour into the trip the vessel was struck by a freak wave which catapulted Carol out of her seat. Carol landed awkwardly against the solid plastic seat and knew immediately that she had damaged her back.
Carol spent the rest of the boat trip trying to keep as still as possible and held on firmly to the side of the boat until it returned to shore. The holiday had been ruined and, on her return to the UK, Carol had an x-ray on her back which revealed it was fractured in two places. Carol was admitted to hospital for three weeks and had to wear a special back brace for a further eight weeks once she was discharged.
Carol and her husband sought legal advice, and subsequently made a compensation claim for a fractured back on holiday against the tour operator through whom the couple had booked their holiday – Thomson Holidays. The couple alleged in their claim that the whale shark excursion offered by the holiday company had been unsafe.
After conducting their own investigation, Thompson Holidays admitted liability for Carol´s injuries and agreed to an undisclosed settlement of her claim for a fractured back on holiday.