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£1m settlement for a 30-year-old kitchen manager who developed chronic pain following a road accident who was met with a fundamental dishonesty defence.
Marcus Grant represented this claimant who sustained an L3 burst fracture, PTSD, soft tissue injury to his right shoulder and right knee and a mild traumatic brain injury in a high energy road accident.
He presented with ongoing mechanical low back pain at the site of the L3 fracture, made worse with prolonged standing, loading of his spine and prolonged periods of time on his feet.
He had a low average premorbid IQ and was left with an array of subjective cognitive symptoms characterised by heightened distractibility, impaired concentration, impoverished working memory and heightened mental fatigue, exacerbated by any activity requiring prolonged periods of concentration.
Over the 5 ½ year period after the accident he managed to return to a reasonable level of physical function that included an ability to jog for short periods and return to noncontact football for up to 30 minutes a couple of times a week.
He continued to require a lot of support from within the family and struggled with independent living.
He provided 3–4 hours per day, three days a week of assistance to his brother’s sandwich delivery business, delivering sandwiches, as part of his vocational rehabilitation.
He presented a claim on the basis that he needed further support from outside the family to recover greater independence and that he would be left with a reduced earning capacity for the rest of his life.
The defendant contended that he had made a good recovery from his injuries and that he was fit enough to return to full-time work in the hospitality sector, provided that he avoided heavy lifting.
It denied that he had sustained any significant traumatic brain injury and contended that any enduring subjective symptoms of chronic pain were maintained by litigation and would not persist in to the long-term future. It contended that he had been over-provided with rehabilitation, which had fostered a misplaced sense of dependency.
After the fifth anniversary of the accident, the defendant served surveillance evidence backed up with allegations of fundamental dishonesty, asserting conscious dishonest under-reporting of function to the medical experts.
That allegation was met with a reply denying fundamental dishonesty, asserting that it should never have been pleaded and seeking indemnity costs at trial.
The case is settled at a JSM seven weeks before trial.