Chris Barnes’ Serita Shone case shortlisted for personal injury award

October 8, 2018

A case in which Chris Barnes from Exchange Chambers acted as lead counsel has been shortlisted for Case of the Year at the 2018 Personal Injury Awards.

Hilary Meredith Solicitors instructed Chris Barnes in the case of Serita Shone, a talented British athlete who was involved in a horrific, life threatening accident. Cast aside by her governing body, she went on to achieve a resounding, against the odds success in court.

Serita took up bobsleighing in 2011, having switched from athletics to take on a new challenge. On the 26 October 2011, whilst taking part in training runs for the upcoming championships in Germany, she was involved in a traumatic accident.

On the second day of four days of intensive training in Germany, the bobsleigh she was in hit the wooden boarding at the top of corner 13, turned over and crashed.  She was thrown from the bobsleigh like a ragdoll, hitting and severely injuring her back on the ice, as she struggled to grip onto the sled to save herself.

Such was the impact of this accident, Serita suffered a serious back injury, for which she had to have emergency surgery to have her spine re-aligned, and a further operation 5 days later.  As well as the back injury, she also had a collapsed lung. The seriousness of the injury meant that she was only able to be transferred to a hospital back in the UK after 3 weeks.

Instead of acknowledging their responsibility for this serious injury, the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association (BBSA) denied owing any duty of care to Serita, denied breaching any duty that might have been owed and alleged that she had consented to the risk of injury.

Not to be cowed, Serita and her legal team took the case to a five-day trial where the Court found the BBSA responsible for causing Serita’s accident.

The Personal Injury Awards 2018 take place at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel on 28 November.