K v. C 16.07.21
An 18-year-old student recovered £725,000 in respect of whiplash and psychological injuries in a rear-end shunting accident at 10 mph.
She had been exposed to abuse in her childhood and was more vulnerable to the consequences of trauma than an average person. Unbeknownst to her she was also hypermobile.
Immediately following the accident she suffered a panic attack and was unable to exit her car; the emergency services cut the roof off the vehicle to extricate her. She developed acute PTSD, which within three months of the accident triggered the first episode of transient losses of consciousness [TLOC]. Postural Tachycardia Syndrome [POTS] was diagnosed 4 years after the accident to explain the mechanism for these early TLOCs; thereafter her autonomically mediated syncope episodes evolved into frequent non-epileptic seizures. She continued to suffer acute upper neck and thoracic pain from the whiplash injury.
Vertical MRI scanning revealed damage to the alar ligament at the base of the skull, attributable on her case to a combination of the constitutional asymptomatic hypermobility and the traumatic forces of the accident.
The case settled 6½ years post-accident, after K had undergone an array of treatments, causing little lasting benefit in her pain and non-epileptic attacks that proved debilitating. In that time she managed to complete an undergraduate degree in architecture but had not managed to secure remunerative employment.
The Defendant’s approach to the claim over the first 4 years was largely disbelieving of her symptoms, but subsequently more focussed on her pre-morbid psychological and hypermobile vulnerabilities and optimism for a better recovery following the conclusion of the litigation.
The case settled following ADR with both parties moving away from their best case positions.