Woman Who Lost Arm in Mexican Off-Road Buggy Ride Sues Adventure Company for Millions

Chelsea Roach seeks millions in damages for the accident that cost her the limb in 2019.

A British woman lost her right arm while riding an all-terrain vehicle on vacation in Mexico in 2019 and is now suing the vacation company she alleges was negligent and caused the accident that cost her the limb. Chelsea Roach, 30, seeks millions of pounds in damages in the lawsuit that was heard in High Court in London last week. Here's what you need to know about this shocking case.

Who Is Chelsea Roach?

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Roach, a resident of Slough, went on vacation to Puerto Vallarta in the Mexican state of Jalisco in 2019. After the accident that claimed her right arm, Roach underwent surgery and was off work for six months. Her occupational therapist recommended Limbless Association, where she became a volunteer. She met other amputees, shared experiences, and trained as a Volunteer Visitor.

What Happened?

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Roach and a friend signed up for a ride on an all-terrain vehicle on jungle trails near Puerto Vallarta in 2019. Roach was a passenger on the £25,000 ($30,500) Polaris RZR ATV when it flipped while turning a corner during wet conditions after a recent hurricane, her lawsuit said.

In court last week, Roach told the judge that her arm snapped off at the elbow and was left hanging by shreds of skin. Roach carried her nearly severed right arm with her left hand to an ambulance, she added. Her friend applied a tourniquet made from her ripped T-shirt to stem blood loss that could have killed her otherwise, she added. Mexican surgeons were not unable to save her arm.

What Her Lawsuit Seeks

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Roach's lawsuit names Mexican excursion specialists Vallarta Adventure S.A. De C.V. The suit blames the company for her injury and seeks millions in compensation. "As the claimant's ATV followed that lead ATV around a bend, the vehicle toppled over, causing the claimant to sustain catastrophic injury," her lawyers claimed in written submissions. Roach previously said she put her hand out to protect her head, and the ATV rolled over it. The accident was caused by the company's "negligence and/or breach of statutory duty," Roach's lawyers said. Vallarta Adventures contests its liability in the accident.

What Happens Next

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A judge last month directed the types of evidence that would be allowed in the lawsuit and added that the court would look at questions over the "validity and effect of the waiver and jurisdiction clauses" in the agreement Roach signed before the accident. The judge also said the lawsuit might have to be moved to Mexico if it doesn't fall within British legal jurisdiction. He added that he would need to see evidence about the availability of case funding in Mexico and the experience of Mexican courts in dealing with "catastrophic personal injury claims." It's possible that Roach's eventual compensation would be less if the case is tried and won in Mexico.

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What Roach Said

Since her accident, Roach has connected with other amputees through the Limbless Association. "I really enjoy supporting service users with their questions and challenges — I've seen people progress, and it's really rewarding," she said. "It's helped me become more accepting of my situation and the sense of achievement and happiness I feel is immense."

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