Broadly, the following approach should be adopted by a solicitor where a client is suspected of suffering from a Somatic Symptom Disorder:
- Is the claimant really suffering a Somatic Symptom Disorder? It’s a fact; doctors can and do get it wrong. A Somatic Symptom Disorder is a diagnosis of exclusion. It’s fundamental, therefore, to rule out an underlying organic problem. Is there any other possible explanation for the claimant’s symptoms? To begin to address this issue, a solicitor must…
- Review everything. It’s imperative that the solicitor reviews all available records and depending upon the claimant’s background this will usually include (but is not limited to) GP records, hospital records, records from other treatment providers (eg physiotherapists, chiropractors, CBT practitioners, podiatrists – possibly even alternative therapy practitioners), employment records, DWP records, military records and in some cases even educational records.
- Should this review raise any questions over the claimant’s diagnosis, then the solicitor can work with the claimant to address these issues with those treating them and/or independent medical experts. In some cases this process will lead to a referral for additional medical tests and/or input from an expert(s) in another specialism.
- Should further investigation reveal no organic explanation for the claimant’s symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean they are suffering a Somatic Symptom Disorder. For example, they may instead have developed one of the conditions now grouped together under the tag ‘central sensitisation’, for example Fibromyalgia (FM), Coccydynia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). In such cases, a rheumatologist may be the next port of call. Also, a Somatic Symptom Disorder is only one of a number of psychiatric conditions which can manifest in otherwise unexplainable symptoms.
- The issues of both diagnosis and causation of the claimant’s injuries/condition are fundamental in any claim, but never more so than where the claimant’s limitations are psychiatric in origin. Choice of medical expert is crucial to success. If a psychiatric diagnosis is likely or even if there is a need to exclude a psychiatric diagnosis, the claimant should be examined for the purpose of the claim by a psychiatrist with current clinical experience of Somatic Symptom Disorder and similar conditions.
“Richard’s understanding, professionalism and sheer tenacity was inspirational and his hard work turned the case around resulting in my receiving a settlement which included funds that allow me to receive treatment that help make my condition more bearable. My husband and I are extremely grateful to Richard, his secretary Amanda and BLB for all they have done for me.” PS (£410,000 received), September 2017
What will happen when you call us?
For a free, confidential discussion, contact us either using the form at the bottom of this page, or call us on 01225 462871.
One of our specialist Somatic Symptom Disorder solicitors will be waiting to speak with you. They will be able to talk through your situation and make a realistic assessment of how we can:
- get your claim back on track;
- maximise your compensation; and, crucially
- help you to obtain the early, specialist treatment you need.
For information on Somatic Symptom Disorder and other chronic pain conditions, including the latest on research and treatment, please also keep an eye on our informative and regularly updated Blog.