Russell Jones faces negligence writ from disaster survivors

PERSONAL injury firm Russell Jones & Walker is being sued for negligence and breach of contract by four survivors of a cruise ship disaster.

The survivors of the Jupiter cruise ship disaster, which occurred off the coast of Piraeus in Greece in October 1988, have each been granted legal aid to sue Russell Jones. The claimants, who were among 400 British schoolchildren forced to jump from the boat when it was rammed by a freighter, are claiming up to £30,000 each in compensation.

The recently-served proceedings involve either claims for negligence or breach of contract against Russell Jones for failing to recover compensation for the disaster's effect on the survivors' education and employment.

Personal injury firm Liddell Zurbrugg, acting for the four claimants, has claimed the accident seriously affected the survivors' education and examination results and delayed the start of their careers. Many claimants originally settled for between £2,000 and £7,500.

An Institute of Psychiatry study last year hit the headlines after it revealed that one in 12 of the children who survived had attempted suicide since the disaster.

One child died in the disaster along with a teacher and two Greek seamen.

The study also showed that many of the children were left mentally scarred by the incident and that many had fallen behind academically and failed to fulfil career potential.

A statement issued by Russell Jones Walker said: “We have always been extremely sympathetic to the plight of the Jupiter survivors and their families and we worked hard to secure damages on their behalf. We do not accept that we have been negligent.

“We do of course accept the claimants' right to challenge this.”

The statement also said: “Because of the age of the survivors, many of the settlement awards were court approved.”