In 2009, three young British backpackers, S, R and C were on a holiday of a lifetime when they were all involved in a life changing accident. The trio were part of a self-drive off road trip around idyllic Fraser Island with eight other travellers. However, tragedy struck when the driver of their jeep lost control when he swerved to avoid an oncoming wave whilst driving on a beach. As a result of the accident, S acquired incomplete paraplegia, R sustained severe orthopaedic and internal injuries and C had a spinal fracture plus bereavement of a close friend who was killed in the accident. Both S and R spent several months recuperating in hospital in Australia.

All three instructed Julian Chamberlayne, Head of the International Injury department at Stewarts,  to bring claims for personal injuries against the driver of the vehicle and the Australian insurer of the jeep. This was prompted by Julian’s unique specialisation in representing those seriously injured in overseas accidents, including representing the spinal injured claimant in the landmark House of Lords decision in Harding v Wealands. Julian swiftly obtained an admission of liability from the Australian insurer, although technical evidence reconstructing the accident was required to analyse issues relating to the effectiveness of the lap-belts fitted to the jeep in a high speed roll-over accident like this one. Both S and R had 1st Class economic degrees, but had not yet started full time work at the time of the accident. Stewarts commissioned reports from investment banking experts to calculate the long-term impact of the serious injuries they sustained on their likely careers in the financial services sector.

By using its in-depth knowledge of international law, Stewarts advised S, R and C to bring their claims in the English Courts, even though the accident occurred overseas. This crucial decision enabled them to recover at least 30% more compensation than they would have done in Australia. In the early stages of the High Court proceedings the Stewarts team then successfully negotiated settlements with the Australian insurers and their lawyers based on English legal principles.

S commented: ‘The entire team at Stewarts left no stone unturned when it came to ensuring I received the correct level of damages after suffering such horrific personal injuries. In fact, their efforts completely exceeded my expectations. I can now happily move forward in my life with the knowledge and confidence that all my current and future needs will be more than adequately met.’



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Media contact: Lydia Buckingham, Senior Marketing Executive, +44 (0) 20 7822 8134,

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