E v. B & L
£1.5m settlement for a 52-year-old decorator who developed Functional Neurological Disorder.
A then 46-year-old decorator was involved in a low-speed side-impact road accident causing him a whiplash injury. His head struck the side of the driver’s door causing him a concussion.
He developed an array of post-concussive symptoms, including profound audiovestibular pathology which, within six weeks, progressed to non-epileptic seizures.
Within four months of the accident he presented with debilitating post-traumatic stress symptoms and became significantly disabled by acute neurological, audio-vestibular, neuro-cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
The headline diagnosis to explain his presentation was Chronic Mixed Functional Neurological Disorder with non-epileptic attacks and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He has been the subject of objectively significant physical and emotional abuse in his childhood, though had led a productive and active adult life, raising a family and holding down employment over the intervening c. 30 years up to the time of the accident.
No issue was taken as to the genuineness or severity of his presentation. The dispute between the parties coalesced around the issue of his vulnerability.
The Claimant presented his case by applying a modest percentage discount (a ‘Malvicini discount’) to the overall value of his claim to reflect a chance that, but for the accident, without any intervening compensable triggering event he may have descended into an equivalent FND that unlocked the repressed traumatic memories from his childhood.
The Defendants adopted an acceleration model, applying a diathesis stress framework for understanding the aetiology of FND, contending that the next significant adverse life event, identified on the facts as a an unrelated medical condition of divarication of the rectus muscles four years post-accident and/or the discovery of a non-functioning pituitary macroadenoma at the sixth anniversary of the accident, would on a balance of probabilities have severed the chain of causation between eth accident and his ongoing FND condition, terminating the claim at that point.
There were different approaches taken to the quantification of the care claim that focused particularly on whether or not the Claimant and his family would accept an expensive external care regime, having chosen to provide the care themselves through to the date of settlement.
The Defendants maintained a sympathetic and supportive approach to the claim, engaging proactively in rehabilitation throughout the six year period between the accident and settlement.
The claim is settled through negotiation with each party respecting the other’s alternative view on analysing the causation issues in the case.