Kevin, a 41 year old carpenter working in the building industry, was sitting in stationary traffic when his car was struck from behind by another vehicle. Despite having applied his handbrake, the collision was forcible enough to shunt his car into the vehicle in front.
Immediately after the accident his neck was painful. That night he slept badly and by the following morning he was painful and stiff over much of his body. He was off work for a week but was then forced to return for financial reasons. His symptoms became worse and he was feeling constantly “drained of energy“. Despite being tired, sleeping continued to be difficult and this only served to make him feel worse.
After struggling on for 3 weeks at work, he was unable to continue and his doctor signed him off with “Whiplash“.
In addition to the constant fatigue, he was by then suffering pain in his neck, head, shoulders, chest, lower back, right buttock, groin and thighs.
Kevin had been referred to a large firm of solicitors by his insurance company. After obtaining an initial medical report from a GP, they referred him to an orthopaedic surgeon. The orthopaedic surgeon concluded “In my opinion and on the balance of probabilities such accidents can cause symptoms for up to twelve months, but these continuing symptoms cannot be related to the accident. Certainly I could find no physical cause for them.”
At this point Kevin’s solicitors advised him to disclose the orthopaedic report to the insurance company and settle the claim based upon a 12 month loss. Kevin contacted BLB Solicitors as specialists in chronic pain and we agreed to take over his claim.
It was clear to us that the symptoms Kevin was reporting were indicitive of Fibromyalgia. Further, published medical research suggests that people who suffer a whiplash injury are significantly more likely to develop Fibromyalgia than people who suffer an injury to another part of the body.
However, Kevin had never been formally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. We therefore referred him to a leading Consultant Rheumatologist who diagnosed Fibromyalgia and recommended appropriate treatment. He also wrote to Kevin’s GP recommending an immediate change in his medication.
Where possible, it is crucial to undergo treatment before a claim settles. If a claim settles before treatment is concluded, there is unlikely to be a settled long term prognosis. Without a long term prognosis, it is impossible to accurately value any future financial losses, such as earnings, care, equipment and further treatment.
In Kevin’s case, we obtained funding from the other driver’s insurance company to fund the recommended treatment which, combined with the change in medication, did help to improve Kevin’s symptoms, although a subsequent report from the Consultant Rheumatologist confirmed that he was likely to remain symptomatic indefinitely.
However, the improvement in his symptoms did allow him to undergo some retraining for a less physically demanding career, albeit on a lower income than before. Kevin’s claim settled for £212,000, including damages for pain and suffering, past and future lost earnings, disadvantage on the employment market, care, equipment and further treatment.