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Case Study

Sand buggy accident leaves woman permanently disfigured

Keith Barrett is currently acting for a young woman badly burnt on holiday in the United Arab Emirates after a rented sand buggy manufactured by Polaris Inc, an American company, exploded into flames in the desert.

She required agonising skin grafts and was in danger of losing her legs and hands. Keith’s client has been left with permanent scars all over her body and psychological problems linked to being trapped in the buggy, believing she was going to die.

Keith’s client paid more than £2,000 for what should have been a dream holiday in November 2017. On the morning of the tour, she was picked up from her hotel and driven to the Al Badayer Desert to experience the Red Dunes.

She was given no protective clothing, helmets or footwear and decided herself to change her flip-flops for trainers before setting off. The only instructions she was given by her guide was not to bother with the gear stick but just to use the stop and go pedals. She was then instructed to follow another guide on a quad bike.

At one point the dunes were so steep, she knew it was too dangerous to follow but was simply told to follow another path in the sand, at which point the sand beneath the buggy gave way and it flipped over and rolled down the dunes, slamming into the sand and exploding into a ball of fire.

Having escaped from her seatbelt, the young woman was left wandering around in the sand screaming in agony and shock, her skin burning in the more than 40 degree desert heat and offered no help from the tour guides.

Eventually, she was taken to hospital in the back of a truck and rushed to A&E. Her father flew out to be with her.

After 16 days in the Sharjah hospital, she was flown home by private jet, paid for by her travel insurer. She battled sepsis contracted in hospital because of the poor hygiene and lack of understanding of the seriousness of the burns.

A year later, still hospitalised in the UK, she was told by the Dubai authorities that she had been charged with dangerous driving. Keith later discovered that his client had been tried and convicted in her absence. Keith advised her not to travel to Dubai to contest the charges because she might be detained pending the hearing of the appeal so she chose not to challenge the decision.

In the meantime, Keith discovered that the buggy company were not insured. He has therefore instructed a lawyer in the US to commence proceeding against Polaris Inc.

Contact us

For further information about holiday accident claims and personal injury claims, please call Keith Barrett on 020 7861 4957 or email keith.barrett@fieldfisher.com.

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