Alvechurch pupils and teachers living with the pain a year after fatal coach crash

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Freya Smith Carrington, who suffered an open fracture to her thigh and needs crutches to walk Freya Smith Carrington, who suffered an open fracture to her thigh and needs crutches to walk

LAWYERS representing 25 Alvechurch school children and adults seriously injured in a coach crash in France while returning from a skiing trip say victims are still suffering on the first anniversary of the crash.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing 21 children and two teachers from Alvechurch Middle School, as well as two ski-instructors, who were injured in the crash, which killed much-love teacher Peter Rippington.

Some of the victims suffered life-changing injuries when the coach left the road near Chalons-en-Champagne.

Passengers initially received emergency treatment in France before being repatriated to England where many have received further treatment.

Irwin Mitchell has already secured a large interim payment of damages on behalf of one seriously injured child, to pay for specialist treatment and home adaptations and to cover the cost of a suitable vehicle to help her get out and about.

Clive Garner, head of Irwin Mitchell’s travel law team, said: “It has been a year since the crash but many are still suffering from serious injuries and face a long battle to get their lives back on track and come to terms with permanent injuries.

“We will ensure our clients receives justice and the full and fair financial settlements they need so they can start to re-build their lives, knowing they will have financial security and access to treatment, rehabilitation, therapies and other support they require now and in the future.”

Irwin Mitchell has also called for more detailed information to be released so lessons can be learned to prevent future accidents.

The English coach driver was charged by French authorities with involuntary manslaughter. His trial in France is likely to take place later this year.
The mother of one injured schoolchild has spoken of the devastating effect the crash continues to have on their lives one year on, as her daughter still relies on crutches.

Toni Smith Carrington’s daughter Freya, age 12, from Bromsgrove, suffered an open fracture to her thigh, which meant the bone was broken and punctured through her skin. 

She said: “The last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions and the one year anniversary is particularly poignant. Freya is still in pain every day and has a long way to go with her recovery that we hope will be helped with intensive rehabilitation and ongoing treatment.

“The psychological impact is also an ongoing battle.”

Steve Ratheram, age 52,  was one of the ski instructors on the trip. He suffered multiple fractures including spinal fractures, a fractured sternum and broken ribs, as well as shoulder injuries.

He said: “My life has been put on hold while I receive treatment but doctors say it is unlikely I will make a full recovery.

“I cannot begin to come to terms with this until I know what caused the crash and that someone has been held to account for mine and the other passengers’ suffering.”

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