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The trauma associated with fibromyalgia, its lifelong impact and often complex diagnostic process, all mean that for someone who wishes to make a claim for developing fibromyalgia as the result of someone else’s negligence, working with a lawyer who has substantial expertise in this area is vital.
The personal injury team at JMW has a great deal of experience when it comes to helping people make a claim if they have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia after an accident that wasn’t their fault and we understand the needs and sensitivities sufferers of this chronic pain disease have. Our goal is to work with you sympathetically, to get you every penny of the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you believe that your situation means you could be entitled to make a claim for fibromyalgia compensation, then call our team on 0800 054 6078 or fill in our online form to let us when is best to contact you.
What Our Clients Say
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic pain condition that leaves sufferers in near constant pain or discomfort. It can cause pain all over the body, from the neck to lower back and knees. Other common symptoms fibromyalgia sufferers can experience include chronic fatigue, mood swings, bowel and bladder issues, numbness and cognitive dysfunction.
The condition is often misunderstood and awareness remains low, even though it can have a very serious impact on a person's day-to-day life. Some people who suffer from fibromyalgia do not realise that the condition is the cause of their suffering, and may believe they are instead suffering from something else prior to being correctly diagnosed.
In our experience as legal professionals, some fibromyalgia sufferers have had their symptoms mistaken for whiplash and soft tissue injuries. We believe it is important that someone who is suffering from pain - whether or not triggered by an accident - makes sure they are not compelled to accept a diagnosis if their symptoms have not subsided.
The following infographic provides more explanation on what fibromyalgia is, and how it might be misdiagnosed. To make the infographic larger, click it once to open it in a new page, then click it again to zoom in
Is There Any Evidence That Might Help My Claim?
When it comes to making a claim for an injury or illness on holiday, it is important to retain as much documentation as possible. This is because it will help your solicitor to prove the circumstances of your accident and the effect it has had on you. This includes:
- Clear details about your resort
- All booking records, including terms and conditions
- Any photographs of the area where your accident happened
- Information about any assistance provided by the hotel and tour operator, including written reports
- Any witness contact details
- Doctor/medical reports provided by any doctor or medical facility you may have visited abroad
Can I Make a Claim?
If your fibromyalgia was caused by an accident that was a result of someone else’s negligence, or by a failure in another person’s duty to protect you from harm, then you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.
What Could My Claim Cover?
Anyone who has ever suffered an incapacitating injury or illness will know just how much it can impact day-to-day life. A claim for your suffering from fibromyalgia can include compensation for financial losses such as:
- Loss of earnings
- Medical costs, including prescriptions
- The costs associated with having to change your lifestyle, for instance, having to travel in taxis due to the pain, or having regular massages or CBT, both of which can help to manage symptoms
Is Fibromyalgia a Disability?
Fibromyalgia is classified as a disability under section six of the Equality Act 2010, which describes a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Can Fibromyalgia Be Caused by a Car Accident?
It is possible for a car accident to cause fibromyalgia as the condition can be misdiagnosed as whiplash. If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligence, you are entitled to make a car accident fibromyalgia claim. You are also entitled to compensation if you already suffer from fibromyalgia and have been involved in a car accident that has made the condition worse.
Case Study: Fibromyalgia Suffered in a Car Accident - £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.
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.
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.
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.
The team at JMW has vast experience helping individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia caused by another person’s negligence. We understand that coming to terms with the impact it can have on your life is incredibly difficult, which is why we handle all cases with the utmost care. Our experience allows us to help sufferers and their families come to terms with these new circumstances, and provide comprehensive legal advice on securing financial compensation.
We will assist you in securing compensation that will help give you the freedom to recover and rehabilitate stress free. We offer you a no win, no fee service, which means there is no financial risk for you if you do choose to make a claim with us. To find out how much you could be entitled to, visit our compensation calculator.