8th August 2016
Marcus Grant (instructed by Phillip Cohen of Brian Barr Solicitors) appeared for the Claimant.
A 48 year old part time Care Worker and Masters Student recovered £145,000 for the consequences of fibromyalgia that developed following a road accident. Following a front end collision at c. 25 mph the Claimant developed soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulders. Before the accident she was a chronic low back pain sufferer and vulnerable to episodic depression; she was taking anti-depressants at the time of the accident. Within 3 months off the accident her neck and shoulder pain became more widespread and diffuse and was accompanied by fatigue, cognitive slowing, headaches and a feeling of being run down. Her mood levels dropped and her anxiety levels increased. She pulled out of her Masters course and continued to struggle with her part time care work.
A treating rheumatologist belatedly diagnosed ‘fibromyalgia’. It was her case that the systemic fibromyalgia cluster of symptoms was triggered by the prolonged sleep disturbance brought about by the soft tissue injuries and the heightened anxiety triggered by the road accident.
The Defendant’s experts considered that her symptoms were psychosomatic and merely part of a pre-existing somatic symptom disorder, and that the road accident had no causal potency to the continuation or subjective exacerbation of those symptoms.
The Claimant’s fibromyalgia was ‘mild to moderate’ in that she was able to continue her care work for several years after the accident and to return to her Masters course a year later. However, she continued to be incapacitated by the condition on her bad days. The £145,000 recovered by way of damages was the product of a negotiation between the Parties, weighing up the credibility, vulnerability and causation risks on the facts of the case.