Skier in bid for compensation

Gemma Adshead-Downs on her skiing holiday.
Gemma Adshead-Downs on her skiing holiday.

A wife who booked a special skiing holiday in Bulgaria for her husband’s 40th birthday is taking legal action after suffering a severe knee injury.

Gemma Adshead-Downs, from Whitley Bay, is seeking compensation for her pain and help with her recovery and rehabilitation after their holiday was ruined on the second day. It is alleged her skis were bound too tightly to her boots, preventing them from releasing.

As Gemma, 34, turned in the snow, her skis overlapped. It is alleged the twisting of the skis should have caused them to release but the bindings did not come loose and caused her leg to twist, tearing her anterior cruciate ligaments.

She was taken to hospital and had a metal pin and two prosthetic rods inserted in her knee. After returning to the UK, she waited several weeks before her leg could be taken out of plaster and an MRI taken. She has since been told her knee will never regain the ability to fully bend.

She has been told that she will never be able to ski again.

Gemma booked the Balkan Holidays skiing trip through Thomas Cook.

As a result of the incident Gemma has instructed personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help recover compensation and funds for her treatment and to cover the costs of the ruined holiday.

Nina Harrison, a specialist travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “What was supposed to be a special holiday for a happily married couple quickly turned into a nightmare that Gemma is yet to recover from.

“In this case, Gemma had total trust in the equipment she was given, and thought everything had been set up correctly. Months later she has still not recovered from the injury and it’s unlikely that her knee will ever be the same again.”

After the accident Gemma was off work for four months and she is currently undergoing a course of physiotherapy.

She said: “I wanted to give my husband, Scott, a holiday to remember and it ended up being a disaster that I keep re-living, due to the constant pain and medical check-ups.

“Instead of spending a week skiing, I ended up in agony at a Bulgarian hospital with some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Not only did it ruin the trip, it cost me four months at work and I have had to deal with incredible pain in my knee.

“I hope to get compensation and financial assistance for my treatment and that this case acts as a reminder of the dangers that skiers face and that all ski holiday operators make sure they keep skiers safe during lessons, especially novice skiers.”