Injured By Ryanair
When going on holiday, one of the last things that you might expect to happen is to suffer an injury before even getting to your destination. This is something that unfortunately happened to Ms Val Tredget, who was scalded when a host on a Ryanair flight knocked a fresh cup of tea over onto her legs, causing immediate blisters and subsequently leaving her with scarring.
Following the initial incident Ms Tredget, who is a nurse herself, advised that the first aid offered to her was lacking and inappropriate for the injury sustained. Instead of being able to hastily supply the injured area with plenty of cold water in an attempt to cool and reduce the burns, she was given a handful of dry papers towels. It wasn’t until after this that she was given the opportunity to go to the back of the plane for some cooling gels, and then a bag with ice cubes when she had returned to her seat. She states that further appropriate medical attention was not offered/provided.
It is reported that a Ryanair spokesperson advised that Ms Tredget’s claims were untrue and that the relevant procedure, which was followed at the time, is for all hot drinks served to be done so in sealed cups with securely fastened lids. A letter sent to Ms Tredget following the incident suggested that after the cup was handed to her, properly sealed, she took it by the lid, causing the spill. It further suggested that she declined offers for further medical attention.
In light of the incident and the response received from Ryanair, Ms Tredget decided to seek advice from a solicitor, with the intention to take legal action against the airline for the injuries sustained.
When making a claim for personal injury, it needs to be considered whether the Defendant had taken reasonable action to prevent a foreseeable accident/injury from occurring. This is something the airline’s spokesperson has attempted to argue by advising that there were procedures in place for the service of hot drinks. Demonstrating that such a system is in place, is often a sufficient defence in certain types of personal injury claims. Ms Tredget’s accident however, took place during a flight, meaning that additional/different arguments can be raised when submitting the claim to the Defendant.
In addition to the standard negligence/breach of duty allegations, it could be argued that the airline and/or its employees were negligent and/or in breach of the ‘Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (‘the Montreal Convention‘) 1999’ which relates to flights. Article 17 of the Montreal Convention states:
“1. The carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.”
The convention imposes a ‘strict liability’ basis to such incidents, which means the claimant only needs to prove that the incident/injury occurred, not that it occurred as a result of the Defendant’s negligence and/or breach of duty.
In this case, there appears to be an argument regarding whether it was the airline host or Ms Tredget who handled the cup of tea directly before it spilt over. If she is able to provide strong witness evidence however to corroborate her version of events, then there should be sufficient prospects for her to be successful in her claim.