Case Studies

Damages claimed for British family following multi-vehicle traffic accident caused by French lorry driver


We have been instructed by the Lawas family to claim damages for catastrophic injuries sustained in a road traffic accident which took place in northern France in October 2015. The accident involved several vehicles and injured 18 people including our clients Mr Ritzmen Lawas, his wife Helen, and their two sons, 15 year old Sylvester and two year old Nino.

The French police report confirms that the driver of the lorry which struck our clients’ car from behind was not only driving at an excessive speed but was also sending messages on his mobile phone at the time of the crash. 

Sylvester (known as John) suffered a life threatening traumatic brain injury in the accident and remained in a critical condition for several months. After his repatriation to the neurological ward at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, where he remained in a coma for several weeks, John was transferred to The Children’s Trust specialist centre for brain injury in Tadworth, where he continues to receive therapy. Although he has made good progress, he is likely to require long term 24 hour support from professional carers. 

Helen Lawas also suffered serious injuries including a bilateral pelvis fracture, a ruptured spleen and a ruptured bladder. She remained in a wheelchair for several months and has only recently begun a staged return to work. Nino suffered a right tibia fracture and each of the family members also suffered significant psychological injuries as a consequence of the experience. 

Our travel law team is pursuing a claim for damages against Axa France, the insurers of the lorry and has secured a six figure interim payment on behalf of the family. Our Court of Protection team has also instructed a team of builders to adapt a local rental property and it is hoped that John will move into the property with his family next month. The family home is now unfortunately completely unsuitable for John’s needs and it will therefore be necessary to purchase a new property which is appropriately equipped for John and his care team for the long term.


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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP