P v. I (Unrep) 21.11.2018
Marcus Grant represented a 47-year-old senior manager who sustained a soft tissue neck injury when she was knocked from her bicycle by a van, compromised her claim for damages in the sum of £675,000.
She was left with a narrowly defined area of chronic pain over the left side of her neck that became progressively more intrusive following prolonged periods of sitting at a work station in an office environment. She found that she needed to lie down to take the weight of her head off her shoulders every few hours to relieve the build-up of pain. These symptoms of chronic pain proved to be resistant to several courses of different chronic pain treatments, and she was left to manage the symptoms with pacing strategies that involved having short periods of rest lying down throughout each working day.
She felt unable to cope with her demanding office role and instead set up in business as a personal trainer instructing clients with injuries or vulnerabilities. In that role she was able to control her postural and physical activity levels and able to lie down and rest when required.
The agreed medical evidence was that she probably could cope once more in a full time office role, provided that she could find a sympathetic employer prepared to make some adjustments. She would be unlikely to operate at her pre-accident level of responsibility or earnings.
She presented her claim on the basis that it was reasonable for her to have made her career choice to move from better paid office work to less well paid personal training work providing her with certainty and control over her coping strategies for the enduring symptoms.
The Defendant contended that her decision to work as a personal trainer was a lifestyle choice and not attributable to the accident and challenged both the top and bottom lines of her loss of earning capacity claims.
The case settled through negotiation shortly before trial part way between the Parties’ best positions.