Julia was injured at work in 2006, when she fell and struck her head whilst helping to manoeuvre a large piece of equipment down a flight of stairs at work. She was concussed and taken to hospital where she was kept in overnight for observation. She subsequently developed headaches and pain in her neck, right shoulder and right arm.
She was off work initially for a period of 4 months, during which time she underwent treatment including physiotherapy and acupuncture. Returning to work part-time, she was experiencing increasing pain in her right hand and her ring and middle fingers on her right hand started to feel as if they had been “superglued together”. Her symptoms continued to get worse until eventually she was signed off on long-term sick leave. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), otherwise known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1 (CRPS).
Julia instructed a firm of Solicitors with little or no experience of chronic pain. Liability for the initial accident was admitted by her employer. Thereafter they obtained reports from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and a Psychiatrist, but both had difficulty explaining her ongoing symptoms. Court proceedings were issued and her employer’s insurance company made an offer of settlement of £65,000. Despite the uncertain prognosis, her Solicitor advised her to accept the offer, saying “it’s a lot of money and you’re not a footballer”!
At that point (June 2010) she spoke to BLB Solicitors and we agreed to take over conduct of her claim. We instructed a nationally respected Researcher and Consultant in Pain Medicine who produced a very comprehensive report, which stated conclusively that the CRPS was directly related to her fall at work. Despite hostility from the Defendant, we were able to persuade a Judge to allow the Claimant to rely upon this new evidence.
The Defendant then instructed their own Consultant in Pain Medicine and a Consultant Psychiatrist to produce reports, both of whom were of the opinion that the the Claimant was not suffering from CRPS and that her ongoing symptoms were unrelated to the accident at work. The Judge ordered the experts to meet and attempt to narrow the issues between them. The Claimant’s experts firmly held their positions during the discussions with the Defendant’s experts.
It was clear that Julia required treatment and we successfully applied to the Court for a substantial interim payment to fund a course of private treatment at a national centre of excellence. The treatment proved successful in reducing the level of Julia’s symptoms to the extent that she was able to consider a return to work, albeit on reduced hours.
A settlement meeting was arranged for April 2011 and at that meeting the Defendant agreed to settle Julia’s claim for £210,000.
In total, BLB Solicitors had conduct of the claim for only 10 months. However, in that time, we were able to arrange first class treatment which had not been made available to Julia in the previous 4 years. Thereafter, we were able to settle the claim for more than three times the previous offer.