K v. K (Unrep) Citation (Unrep) 20.01.21


Practice Areas

Personal Injury

A then 43-year-old doctor working part time in the pharmaceutical industry and part time as a locum GP sustained a whiplash injury in a moderately severe rear-end shunting road accident.

She developed a well-defined area of pain in her cervical and thoracic spine with symptoms in her right shoulder that did not respond to extensive courses of conservative treatments via physiotherapy, osteopathy and several trigger point injections. On her case,  she developed an impingement in the shoulder from the secondary postural sequelae to the whiplash injury.

On her case, she developed a cluster of heightened anxiety and low mood symptoms that just hit the threshold for PTSD for a short period and for an Adjustment Disorder for a longer period.

She has no prior orthopaedic or psychological vulnerability that predisposed her to a poor outcome following trauma.

She persevered with her work; her earnings increased over the 18 month period after the accident. However, slowly she had to make incremental adjustments to her work and home lives to accommodate her pain as her attempts to buffer it weakened over time. She gave up her pharmaceutical work at the third anniversary of the accident and then resumed it on a reduced part time basis from the fifth anniversary.

The Defendant’s response was to assert that no symptoms beyond the anniversary of the accident could be attributed to it. Instead, any subjective report of spinal pain was attributable to coincidental symptoms from previously asymptomatic degenerative changes; further, that the shoulder pathology was wholly unrelated.

The Defendant asserted that her presentation contra-indicated a biopsychosocial model of chronic pain because there was no pre-accident vulnerability and no diagnoseable psychological response to the accident.

The case settled through negotiation against that evidential matrix.

Related Barristers

Marcus Grant

Marcus Grant
Year of Call: 1993

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