Our client booked a boat trip through an agent. During the trip, the Captain piloted the boat at excessive speeds even in rough conditions. The boat capsized and during the process our client suffered broken fibula (broken leg) and distal radius fracture (broken wrist) with many abrasions including bruising to her face. Our clients occupation included modeling.
Life is Cheap; Injuries Cheaper
In certain legal jurisdictions, such as the U.S., the injuries and damage to our client would have yielded significant potential compensation. However, the compensation profile for Thailand in terms of personal injury claims is comparatively low. Even recklessness causing death does not attract large compensation payments and high profile cases often reported in the news, sometimes involving celebrities causing death to others, evidence the fact that the value of life is unfortunately in compensation terms valued cheaply in Thailand.
Identifying the Owners and Liability
After such an accident, agents can often go into ‘lockdown mode’ – ignoring requests for meetings and prevaricating. This can be particularly obvious if many foreigners are involved and the agent and/or owner will be aware that they will have to return to their home countries from where their will to ‘fight’ a claim will inevitably be sapped away by distance and time.
A victim may not be aware of who owns the vessel, whether the vessel was insured and what other assets the vessel owner may have. It is important to conduct a company search of the agency and also check into who the owners are and if they are a company, conduct an asset check – noting the scope of asset checks are limited to public information on the public record.
Assessing a Realistic Claim
The worst kind of judgment is an empty judgment – a pyric victory where morally it is clear who was at fault, but ultimately the ‘loser’ loses nothing as they have nothing.
Before embarking upon a long arduous journey of litigation, it is important to ensure that a strategy of regular asset checks is applied, to track if any assets are moved and if shareholdings are moved also.
Hughes Krupica is pragmatic but persistent with regards to personal injury claims such as the boat accident claim described here. Ultimately we achieved an early settlement with damages higher than would ordinarily be expected so that all parties could avoid the costs and time of conducting proceedings.
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