Fibromyalgia arising from car accident

Mrs H was awarded £290,000

Mrs H was the front seat passenger in a car that was hit from behind by another car.  She was ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  Jason Harwood, Partner, handled her claim. 

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 the 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.  Jason did not feel the £25,000 was a reasonable offer 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, and disclosed all of these statements 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 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. 



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