Rose was involved in a road traffic accident when her vehicle was struck from behind at a pedestrian crossing. She experienced immediate pain on the right-hand side of her neck and in her right shoulder. She was taken to the local hospital where a diagnosis of ‘whiplash’ was made.
She instructed the solicitors that contacted her through the driver’s insurance company. Six weeks after the accident, they obtained a medical report from a general practitioner which suggested she would make a full recovery within six to nine months. She had six sessions of physiotherapy, but her symptoms worsened rather than improved.
“Six weeks after the accident, they obtained
a medical report from a general practitioner
which suggested she would make a full
recovery within six to nine months.”
Despite her worsening condition, her solicitors attempted to persuade Rose to settle her claim. Rose was not pleased and they eventually agreed to obtain a further medical report, this time from an orthopaedic surgeon. Although the problems that Rose was experiencing were primarily to her right shoulder, neck and the upper part of her back, they instructed an orthopaedic surgeon whose special interest was knee surgery!
The orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that not only were her symptoms “unexplainable” but that “they cannot in my opinion be related to the subject accident”. Her solicitors were reluctant to challenge this opinion and in some desperation she looked around for alternative representation.
“Although the problems that Rose was experiencing
were primarily to her right shoulder, neck and the
upper part of her back, they instructed an orthopaedic
surgeon whose special interest was knee surgery!”
Rose instructed BLB Solicitors. By this time the pain had now spread over the middle and lower parts of her back and was radiating into both shoulders. She was struggling to lift anything remotely heavy, was in constant pain, and was reliant upon diazepam to help her sleep. The effect on her day to day life was considerable, and she was struggling with most of the heavier aspects of her housework, was unable to carry her shopping and could not pick up her grandchildren. As a result of these ongoing limitations she developed anxiety and depression.
BLB Solicitors fully investigated Rose’s claim, obtained a complete set of medical and other records and instructed a nationally recognised expert in pain medicine to examine her. He was firmly of the opinion that Rose had developed Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS). He believed that this had been caused solely by the road traffic accident. The pain specialist recommended that she urgently be referred to a pain medicine specialist to co-ordinate her treatment. In tandem with her physical treatment, we arranged for Rose to be assessed by a clinical psychologist who recommended a lengthy course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help address her anxiety and depression.
“The effect on her day to day life was considerable,
and she was struggling with most of the heavier
aspects of her housework, was unable to carry her
shopping and could not pick up her grandchildren.”
Whenever possible it is important that treatment takes place before a claim settles. This is because a settled long-term prognosis is often not available from the medical experts until treatment has concluded. Without a long-term prognosis, accurately calculating future losses (e.g. earnings, care, equipment, transport, further treatment) is extremely difficult.
As with most cases, we arranged for Rose’s treatment to be funded by the other driver’s insurance company although, crucially, we were careful to ensure that she was able to choose her own treatment providers. With the recommended treatment and ongoing management, Rose’s symptoms have improved and although she will never be symptom free, her condition no longer has the dominating effect upon her life that it did before.