News & Resources

PA and Personal Trainer recovers £1.5 m for severe post traumatic fibromyalgia / somatic symptom disorder

25th October 2017

Marcus Grant, instructed by Alex Cohen of Brian Barr Solicitors represented a 42 year old claimant who sustained injuries in a rear end shunting car accident.

PA and Personal Trainer recovers £1.5 m for severe post traumatic fibromyalgia / somatic symptom disorder. Marcus Grant, instructed by Alex Cohen of Brian Barr Solicitors, represented the Claimant.

Following a modest rear-end shunting road accident, an otherwise fit and healthy PA and part time fitness trainer sustained a whiplash associated disorder that interfered with her ability to work normally and resulted in her being unable to achieve restorative sleep. Being  unable to work effectively caused her anxiety. Over the course of c. 4-6 months after the accident her whiplash symptoms transformed into a more widespread diffuse aching throughout her body coupled with headaches, mental fatigue and impaired cognitive function. Seven months after the accident a rheumatologist diagnosed fibromyalgia although features of her presentation did not fit comfortably within the diagnosis. Over the ensuing five years her health deteriorated, and despite having access to a bespoke residential pain management course, her function declined to the point where she became largely wheelchair dependent and acquired significant care and housing needs.

On her case her presentation was explained by post-traumatic fibromyalgia; the nexus between the trauma and the subsequent fibromyalgia was not simply a temporal one, but one involving a mechanism of trauma-induced non-restorative sleep, specifically an inability to achieved Rapid Eye movement (REM ) sleep. On her case,  she did not present with any other self standing psychiatric disorder to explain part or all of her symptoms. The prognosis was poor and she would require substantial care and assistance for the rest of her life.

The Defendant’s experts considered that her presentation on physical examination of exquisite pain that made it impossible to conduct a structured assessment for fibromyalgia was more suggestive of a psychiatrically-mediated disorder rather than post-traumatic fibromyalgia, and considered that somatic symptom disorder best encapsulated that presentation. They considered that she presented with perfectionist and driven character traits before the accident that rendered her vulnerable to descending into an equivalent psychiatrically-mediated chronic widespread pain state in the absence of trauma, or within a short period of her 38th birthday (her age at the time of the car accident). Furthermore, they contended that because the predominant explanation for her presentation was psychiatrically mediated, rather than organically mediated, the prognosis for substantial, though incomplete recovery was good; the treatment modality of choice was CBT, coupled with a functional restoration programme.

The case settled on day 6 of a trial in the Queen’s Bench Division at a point between the Parties’ respective best case scenarios.

Related Barristers

Marcus Grant

Marcus Grant
Year of Call: 1993

Close X

Coronavirus Update

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

Telephoning us

When calling our switchboard number, it will be diverted to a member of the clerking team who will be able to assist in the usual way. All direct dials in Chambers are diverted to be answered remotely.

Emailing us & Sending Instructions

Please send all instructions via email directly to We would be grateful if this could be sent in an orderly fashion to enable working from a screen manageable. We are able to receive hard copy instructions via DX or Post, if necessary. However, we have a preference for electronic documents wherever possible.

Please continue to communicate with barristers directly via phone or email.

Conferences, Joint Settlement Meetings & Mediations

Conferences, meetings and mediations will take place remotely, either by telephone or video until further notice. Group Telephone calls and video calls can be easily arranged. If an in-person meeting is felt necessary please see our Covid-19 Information page for full criteria.

Court Hearings

We are following the Government’s advice closely, which is changing daily. In keeping with that advice, we will continue to service hearings remotely, where possible and as instructed by the hosting Court. In-Person hearings will be accommodated by members of TGC. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Making a payment

If you do not already pay us by BACS, going forward please make arrangements to do so. Please contact the clerks who can supply you with the relevant BACS details.

If you wish to discuss our policy and procedure relating to coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our senior clerk Dean Norton on 07535 753098 or

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.