UK woman claims $40m damages

ONE of the largest damages claims in Tasmania's history - a claim for more than $40 million - has been filed in Hobart's Supreme Court.

The lawsuit was filed by the mother of Holly Raper, a bedridden English woman confined to "a near vegetative state" after a quad bike crash on a King Island farm in December 2011.

Ms Raper, of Lancashire in England's north-west, was in Tasmania on a working visa when she suffered catastrophic head injuries while working on David and Jocelyn Bowden's dairy farm.

Ms Raper was paralysed in the incident and spent 15 months in the Royal Hobart Hospital before being flown back to the UK where she spent a further 12 months in a hospital near her parents' home.

Upon her release, Ms Raper's parents turned their garage into a care facility where she remains.

In her writ, Ms Raper told her parents she sought damages for the crash.

The suit for $40,621,125 was submitted by Ms Raper's mother, Elaine Raper.

The lawsuit alleges that former King Island dairy farm operators David and Jocelyn Bowden:

● Failed to inform Ms Raper about an unmarked drain on the farm, which she claims caused her crash.

● Failed to provide Ms Raper with a helmet.

● Failed to adequately instruct Ms Raper on how to use the quad bike.

● Failed to inform Ms Raper of the vehicle's faulty brakes and steering.

Mr and Mrs Bowden have denied the allegations and allege that Ms Raper contributed to her own injuries.

In the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Associate Justice Stephen Holt said the court case would be "lengthy, expensive and complex".

The court heard that Mr and Mrs Bowden wanted the trial to first hear evidence about whether or not they were to blame for Ms Raper's injuries.

That application was knocked back by Associate Justice Holt.

Initially the trial was set to start in April but it could begin as late as August.

Associate Justice Holt also said he had concerns about the claim because of differences between Australia's and the UK's economies and how that impacted medical bills. The trial will be part heard in the UK and part heard in Tasmania.

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