Landmark victory as man wins £600,000 payout after losing arm and leg in tyre blast

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A lawyer has secured a landmark legal victory – which included the setting of an international precedent for future cases – by securing a German aircraft worker who lost an arm and a leg at a UK airport 750,000 euros in personal injury compensation.

The case, handled by Jane Woodcock of Neil Hudgell Solicitors, which has offices in Hull and Leeds, has taken four years to settle on behalf of the injured engineer.

The engineer, who was experienced and worked for a German airline, had been called to service a tyre under the nose of an aircraft at Manchester Airport when the accident happened in November, 2008.

He was handed a faulty nitrogen rig by a ground-handling company at the airport – which wrongly measured pressure in BAR rather than the internationally used psi – leading to the tyre inflating to a pressure 14 times higher than expected. Standing less than a metre away at the time, the worker lost an arm and a leg when the tyre exploded.

An 18-month investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau confirmed that the nitrogen rig used, which had been supplied by a UK company, had been faulty.

“Despite the severity of the injuries sustained I initially thought this would be a straight-forward case on liability, but in the end it was without doubt the most complicated of my career, involving solicitors and barristers on behalf of insurers in England and Germany, High Court hearings and much delicate and complicated negotiation,” said Mrs Woodcock.

His Honour Judge Brian C Forster QC found in favour of her client after deciding that the case should be determined under English law.

At the High Court in London the Judge stressed the airline could not “rely upon exclusions and limitations around German Social Accident Insurance”.

The German airline and UK ground handling company agreed a joint settlement for her client of E750,000, about £600,000.