The psychological scars borne by road accident victims can be just as serious as their physical injuries and they are equally worthy of compensation. In a case on point, an aspiring ski instructor who has been left with a fear of mountain roads after a terrifying coach crash in the French Alps has achieved a damages settlement of almost £80,000.
The man, in his 20s, was on board the coach with other resort staff when it collided with a cliff and burst into flames. He only survived by escaping through a smashed window. He suffered four spinal fractures, injuries to his left hand and right elbow, scarring and significant shock. He has endured long-term pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and a specific anxiety about travelling on steep hills. As a result, his hopes of qualifying as a ski instructor have been dashed.
After proceedings were brought on his behalf, the operators of the coach admitted liability for the accident. In awarding him a total of £77,476 in damages, a judge found that he has exhibited avoidance behaviour and endured nightmares and flashbacks since the crash. Intrusive memories of the accident have had a significant impact on his approach to travelling in coaches, by rail or by aeroplane. He had, if anything, underplayed his symptoms and the judge paid tribute to his stoicism.