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Christmas catastrophe injures British tourist

An Essex man has been awarded £35,000 compensation after being seriously injured by a falling Christmas tree.

In 2003 Malcolm Tuffin was holidaying with friends in the Czech capital, Prague, when a hundred foot Christmas tree, installed as part of the town square’s decorations, was blown over by high winds.

Mr Tuffin suffered fractures to his spine and femur as well as injuries to his head. He was rushed to a Czech hospital and later transferred by air ambulance to the Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, were he spent a month in intensive care.

The sixty-one year old now requires the use of a walking stick and since the accident has only been able to do paperwork for his building company.

Mr Tuffin originally attempted to claim £90,000 but received a settlement of around £19,000 from Prague Council in 2007 after the court ruled at the time that his further claims for compensation were not supported by sufficient evidence.
Despite four other people being injured in the unusual accident, Police investigating the incident announced it to be an act of god and suggested Mr Tuffin had not taken quick enough evasive action.
Seven years after he commenced his battle to secure compensation for his injuries, Mr Tuffin has eventually been awarded a final amount of £35,000 after the Czech Supreme Court ruled that the local council and the company who organised the market were negligent by not ensuring the tree was bedded in securely.

He told a local paper after the Czech judgement last week: "It's been a long struggle.”
The Czech company responsible for organising the ‘Old Town Square Christmas Market’ is believed to be appealing against the decision.
Kate Sweeney, Partner and head of Personal Injury at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, said: “This was an unusual accident with serious consequences.
“If you have suffered a personal injury, a specialist personal injury solicitor will be able to advise you appropriately and help bring about a claim for compensation.”
Call us on 01616 966 229 or complete an online enquiry form for free initial advice regarding your personal injury claim.