Clutha Fatal Accident Inquiry

The ongoing Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Clutha Vaults accident in 2013 has prompted our new Legal Director Ken Lauder to reflect on some of the claims arising from the accident in which he has been involved. Understanding the reasons for the accident is clearly of huge interest to those directly affected, as well as to the wider public. Hopefully the outcome of the Fatal Accident Inquiry may bring further closure for the victims and their families and friends.

Ken Lauder has represented a number of people who were unfortunate enough to be caught up in the events of 29 November 2013, turning a Friday night out with friends into an unwelcome life altering experience for many. Fortunately the applicable law meant that, for the most part, claims by people injured on the ground were met with admissions of liability. This is because Section 76(2) of the Civil Aviation Act, which governs the liability of aircraft operators in relation to those killed or injured on the ground, essentially imposes strict liability. As a result, many of the people affected by the accident at least knew from an early stage that they would receive some financial compensation.

However, even in cases where liability is not in dispute, good advice about quantification of a claim is needed. Quite understandably, people impacted by accidents often want to put things behind them as soon as possible and to try to move on with their lives. This is especially so with a high profile incident such as Clutha Vaults which can lead to unwanted levels of interest in private lives, adding another layer of anxiety on top of having to deal with both the accident itself and being trapped in a legal process.  Unfortunately, for some claimants, the full extent of an injury may not be known for a few years and, in those situations, it is always reassuring to have an experienced solicitor able to guide you through the process. Ken acted for one survivor of the accident who was initially given a reasonably optimistic prognosis but, over time, it became clear that the client had a worse injury than first thought and therefore a bigger claim.

Some claims were not straightforward to relation to liability. Ken also acted for one “secondary victim”. Essentially, the law provides that a person with a sufficiently close relationship with the primary victim who witnesses an accident or its immediate aftermath may have a claim. In this particular case, the Defenders maintained a position until only a few weeks before the final hearing that the Pursuer did not meet the necessary criteria.  However, a substantial settlement was achieved.

Ken Lauder is highly experienced in dealing with catastrophic injury claims.  He and other members of our Litigation team will work with you to achieve the best outcome for you if you have a claim.

The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.

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