Jon was a 44 year old, married man with two teenage children. He worked as a baker for a national supermarket chain and in his spare time enjoyed “tinkering with motorbikes”.
Jon suffered an accident at work when are large, heavy cage of groceries fell, striking him on his right arm and shoulder, resulting in serious soft tissue injuries. He instructed solicitors who obtained a medical report from a consultant in emergency medicine. The consultant’s opinion was that Jon would make a full recovery within 4 to 6 months of the accident. This didn’t happen. In fact, Jon’s symptoms became progressively worse.
Jon struggled on beyond the prognosis period and despite pressure from his solicitors to settle his claim, he pushed for a re-examination which his solicitors only agreed to arrange if he paid the fee. The consultant’s opinion was that Jon was “now in the realms of chronic pain and the opinion of a pain management consultant should be sought.”
Jon’s solicitors agreed to obtain a report from a pain consultant. However, having little or no experience of claims involving chronic pain, they instructed a pain medicine consultant more usually instructed by insurance companies and whose objectivity had been called into question by a judge in a well reported case. His opinion was that Jon was “grossly exaggerating” his symptoms.
Jon’s solicitors refused to challenge that opinion, instead putting him under considerable pressure to settle his claim. At that point Jon contacted us.
We travelled to see Jon in order to take a detailed history from him and to review his papers. After agreeing an ‘action plan’ to move his claim forward, Jon instructed us to take over conduct of his claim. We contacted his former solicitors on his behalf. Jon was not required to have any further contact with them.
Initially, we obtained a complete set of medical and employment records which were then collated, paginated and reviewed. Document summaries and chronologies were prepared and detailed witness statements were taken from Jon and his family. At that point we instructed a leading consultant in pain medicine, whose opinion was entirely supportive, diagnosing Jon as suffering a chronic pain syndrome (CPS), which had likely also resulted in him developing a chronic pain disorder (CPD), that latter diagnosis to be confirmed by a psychiatrist with a special interest in chronic pain. This consultant went further, commenting in detail on the report of the earlier pain consultant, which he described as “a frankly bizarre conclusion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
We applied successfully to the Court for permission to rely upon the new pain expert. The Court also gave permission for us to obtain a specialist psychiatric opinion in respect of the possible chronic pain disorder. The psychiatrist subsequently confirmed that Jon’s chronic pain syndrome had also led to him developing a chronic pain disorder. This was likely, at least in part, to have been the result of the lengthy delay in diagnosis and therefore treatment.
Extensive treatment was recommended and funding obtained from the Defendant’s insurance company to pay for this.
Remarkably, throughout this time John had continued to work, albeit on very light duties. Given the nature of his work, even with treatment it was agreed that Jon was highly unlikely to work again full-time as a baker. Fortunately, his employer was very supportive and Jon was able to retrain with them as a Quality Control Manager, a role that he was able to pursue full time and that he enjoyed.
Following a Joint Settlement Meeting, Jon’s claim settled for £262,000.