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Compensation secured for family of late opera choreographer

Claire Glaskin was killed in a road traffic crash on the M11

Posted on 05 December 2013

Christine Tallon of the personal injury team at Leigh Day has secured a six figure sum for the family of a talented opera choreographer who was tragically killed in a road traffic collision in March 2009.

Claire Glaskin was a front seat passenger in the family car which was being driven by her partner along the M11 when they were hit by another vehicle which caused the car to spin across three lanes of the motorway coming to rest across the fast lane. The engine had cut out and, tragically, whilst her partner, Mike Ashman, was attempting to re-start the car, another vehicle which was travelling in excess of the speed limit in the fast lane collided with the passenger side of the vehicle. Claire died at the scene. Her partner sustained a brain injury.

Claire had worked on major operatic productions for various opera companies in the UK including English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Opera North, Garsington Opera and also a number of opera companies around the world including in Greece, New Zealand and Australia.

She was also highly regarded for her work on the BBC production of ‘Maestro’ in 2008 and was looking forward to being involved in the next series of the programme.

Claire was very highly regarded by all who worked with her and she would undoubtedly have continued to increase her profile in the world of opera and in television.

The criminal prosecution brought by the police involved a lengthy trial and it was not until some time after that trial had been concluded that the insurers for the vehicles involved eventually admitted liability but not until they had also sought to bring declaration proceedings to declare the insurance policies void.

The claim was brought on behalf of Claire’s partner and on behalf of their three children who were aged 16, 14 and 9 at the time of Claire’s death. 

Claire had been the main bread winner in the family and her death therefore caused significant financial hardship to the family, bearing in mind also that Claire’s partner had also sustained a brain injury. Because Claire had worked freelance, the difficulty with the case related largely to establishing what Claire’s earning capacity would have been, but for the accident. This involved obtaining a large number of statements from various operatic producers and directors around the world who had worked with Claire and who could therefore comment on future work which would or might have been available to her.

Christine Tallon said:

“ This was a tragic case in which a family’s lives were changed irretrievably by a few moments of inattention by two drivers. It could so easily have been avoided but the devastating result was that a family lost a partner, mother, sister and aunt. It was made worse by the insurers continued refusal to accept liability until just over 3 and half years after the accident. I am pleased that we have now managed to achieve a settlement which will at least give Claire’s partner and children some financial security though of course this will never compensate them for the loss of Claire’s love and affection”.