Case Study: Fibromyalgia Suffered in a Car Accident

Mrs H was awarded £290,000

JMW has secured £290,000 compensation for a client after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia which was the result of a serious car crash.

The case

Mrs H suffered whiplash-style injuries after being thrown forwards, then backwards in her seat after the car she was in was hit by another car, including stiffness, neck pain and a headache. Mrs H was in pain for the days following the accident. Her symptoms worsened in the months after the accident, and it was clear that Mrs H was not suffering from whiplash. Mrs H was ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. 

Diagnosing fibromyalgia

At the start of Mrs H's claim, a letter of claim was sent to the defendant's insurer, who admitted liability for the accident. For many days and months after her accident, Mrs H was in pain, struggling with household tasks and suffering from depression, and required a lot of help from her husband. 

We arranged for Mrs H to be examined by an independent medical expert, who advised that Mrs H was potentially suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, had sprained her spine and experienced a soft tissue injury to her chest as a result of the accident. 

Mrs H also had a number of symptoms not typically associated with a whiplash-style injury; headaches, bruising sensations across her body, stiffness, depression and insomnia. Mrs H was referred to a rheumatologist by her GP, who diagnosed her with fibromyalgia. 

Preparing evidence

We had an independent rheumatologist examine Mrs H, who made a medical report we could disclose to the defendant’s insurer, who then made an offer of £25,000 to settle the case. 

We discussed Mrs H's claim with a barrister, including her future loss of earnings, as Mrs H was to become a Managing Director at her company before her accident. Jason did not feel the £25,000 was a reasonable offer given the circumstances, and the limits fibromyalgia put on her capacity to work, and advised Mrs H to reject it, which she did. 

Evidence to support Mrs H's case was gathered, including witness statements from her employers, her husband, her mother-in-law and Mrs H, all of which were disclosed to the defendant's insurer. Jason also compiled a Schedule of Loss for Mrs H, obtained updated medical records and got Mrs H re-examined by the rheumatologist. 

It was also appropriate for us to get a care assistance expert to provide us with a report on Mrs H's ongoing care requirements, so Jason arranged that appointment. We liaised with the defendant’s insurer during this time. 

Issuing court proceedings

The defendant's insurers then employed a solicitor to manage the claim. We also received the second report from the rheumatologist, which said Mrs H's condition should be classed as moderately severe. 

We received an offer of £125,000 from the defendant's solicitor to settle the case, which was still not appropriate, and we advised Mrs H to reject it.  We also received the care assistant expert’s report, which advised Mrs H would need additional support to meet her needs. 

We took a second witness statement, providing an update on Mrs H's condition. As her case was approaching its limitation deadline, we issued court proceedings against the defendant.  We served the care assistant expert’s report, alongside the revised schedule of loss and provided the defendant’s solicitor with access to Mrs H's medical records. 

The defendant’s solicitor also requested that Mrs H be examined by their own medical expert and, while they still accepted liability for the initial road traffic accident, they required proof of Mrs H’s fibromyalgia. We agreed to the examination and invited them to a Joint Settlement Meeting, to settle the case early. 

Joint settlement meeting

Our proposal of a joint settlement meeting was accepted. At the joint settlement meeting, Jason, our barrister, and the defendant’s legal team, undertook heavy negotiation on the case.  After starting with a low offer, we were able to agree a settlement of £290,000, which Mrs H was extremely happy with. She has said of Jason: "Jason and his colleagues didn’t once make me feel like 'just another file' on someone's desk and everyone at JMW has been very attentive, sympathetic and genuine. I know Jason has put a lot of work into my case and I'm very grateful to him." 

Fibromyalgia compensation amounts

Compensation amounts for fibromyalgia claims following a car accident can vary. However, they will likely be dependent on a number of factors, and you will be able to claim for financial losses you've experienced as a result of the accident and your condition, including medical costs, loss of earnings and any costs linked to required lifestyle changes, such as needing a massage on a regular basis.

For more information about how much compensation you may be able to claim, head over to our Compensation Calculator.

Misdiagnosis and mistaking fibromyalgia for whiplash

One of the major issues when it comes to the misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia is that it is often mistaken for whiplash. When this happens, it can add years onto a person's recovery process because they are not being treated correctly. An incorrect diagnosis can have very serious consequences, and therefore a claim for compensation represents a way to make up for any unnecessary pain and suffering or delayed treatment experienced as a result. It is also why using a solicitor experienced in dealing with fibromyalgia claims is important; they will recognise problems you’ve encountered that other solicitors may not, and be able to guide you towards the best treatment package possible that will aid your recovery. 

Suffering depression following an accident

The psychological impact of an accident is something that is also taken into account as part of a claim for compensation. If a person's life is negatively impacted following an accident, it is only natural that they may suffer from depression or similar issues as a consequence. Depression is a symptom of fibromyalgia, and therefore could indicate a more serious problem.

Switching solicitors

If you do not feel your fibromyalgia claim is being correctly handled by your current solicitors, you can switch to the expert solicitors at JMW, who are hugely experienced in claims of this type and can provide the support you need during what can be an extremely difficult time.

Do you suffer from Fibromyalgia after an accident?

If so, you will be entitled to compensation. Speak to our personal injury team to find out more on 0800 054 6570 or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you.

Back to main fibromyalgia claims page

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