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£120K compensation for fibromyalgia & PTSD sufferer

Steven Akerman, from Brian Barr Solicitors, assists fibromyalgia & PTSD sufferer who experienced a road accident.


Together, Steven Akerman of Brian Barr Solicitors and Counsel, Fiona Ashworth of Kings Chambers, helped to obtain a total of £120,000 in chronic pain compensation for Helen McLean whom, after an extremely traumatic road traffic accident, became a PTSD and fibromyalgia sufferer.

On 8th November 2013, Helen approached a roundabout while driving a small vehicle. As she proceeded along the roundabout, a lorry beside her collided with the side of her vehicle, dragging her along the roundabout for some time. This was an extremely frightening accident for Helen, who believed she might be killed or seriously injured as a result.

After the accident, she began to experience unpleasant dreams, nightmares, insomnia and recurring memories of the accident as though it was happening over and over again, coinciding with distressing anxiety. As a result, Helen developed social isolation, low mood, apathy and loss of motivation. She became very anxious whilst in traffic and was referred to secondary mental health services, where a diagnosis of PTSD was made.

Helen also experienced aches and pains, especially to her shoulder. Her sleep was disturbed and she complained of fatigue. She complained of flu-like symptoms and, four months post-accident, was complaining of generalised muscle pain, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with suffering from fibromyalgia as well.

Her prognosis was also very poor going forward. The chronic and enduring nature of the PTSD made it unlikely that she will return to work on either a full or part-time basis. Unfortunately, Helen has been greatly affected by her PTSD and fibromyalgia; at the time of the accident, she was self-employed as a Personal Finance Advisor. She struggled at work and finally had no choice but to stop working altogether in December 2014.

Helen also requires assistance with general household chores, laundry, meal preparation and shopping, as well with some personal care and gardening. She is also an avid dog owner, who now struggles to take care of her numerous pets. This alone causes her distress, along with her loss of independence. She relies on the help of family and friends.

The claim, however, was not straightforward. Helen had a 15-year history of back pain, causing difficulty in working, and she had been previously been in receipt of benefits. She was also the victim of previous accidents, which caused various degrees of difficulties. She was also prone to previous bouts of stress and anxiety to varying degrees.

The other side tried to argue, therefore, that Helen’s symptoms were not as a result of the accident, but to these pre-existing difficulties. If this was proven, Helen’s claim would have had a very low value.

However, Brian Barr Solicitors were able to navigate through these difficult medical issues and secure an appropriate settlement for Helen. It was argued that prior to the accident, Helen’s symptoms were variable in nature, but she always did return to some level of functioning, including being able to return to employment in 2012. After the accident, however, Helen’s symptoms were more of a severe and permanent nature and not variable.

Thankfully, she was able to instruct Brian Barr Solicitors, experts in fibromyalgia litigation to assist her with her compensation claim and help to secure a large sum of money to compensate for her poor quality of life.

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