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Vauxhall helicopter crash victims seek legal redress

Leigh Day instructed by victims of fatal London helicopter crash

22 February 2013

Law firm Leigh Day have been instructed by a number of victims of the fatal helicopter crash in Central London on 16th January 2013.

The firm has confirmed it is investigating several claims following the crash, which occurred after a commercial helicopter collided with the Tower on St George Wharf near the river Thames in south Lambeth. Burning wreckage and aviation fuel covered the road and caused major disruption to the morning rush hour.

The pilot of the helicopter, Pete Barnes working for flight operator Rotor Motion, and pedestrian Matthew Wood were both killed.

On 22 January 2013 the London Inner South Coroner heard opening statements that the helicopter pilot, Pete Barnes, was diverted due to bad weather. A special bulletin from the Air Accident Investigation Branch was presented to the Coroner, which recorded the history of the flight with concerns being raised about the poor weather between the pilot and his client.

The inquest into both deaths has now been adjourned for evidence to be obtained. The ongoing investigations are likely to take several months to conclude.

Leigh Day has confirmed that the injuries they are dealing with range from serious physical injuries caused by falling debris, through to psychiatric trauma from witnessing the crash and aftermath.

Daniel Easton, a partner in the Leigh Day personal injury team, said: “This was a tragic incident which could have had been much worse given the fact it occurred at 8:00am when the streets were full of commuters. Our clients are amongst the unfortunate victims who were injured in this tragedy.

“We hope to resolve many of our cases quickly as there are specific regulations applying to air accidents which ensures victims on the ground should not need to prove who was at fault for the accident to receive their compensation. The legal precedent for this was set following a previous Leigh Day case in 2003 in which the High Court approved damages for psychiatric injury after witnessing an airplane crash.

“This precedent will hopefully help us to speed up the process for our clients ensuring the are compensated quickly and properly.”

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