Fibromyalgia case studies – Brian Barr
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Fibromyalgia case studies

Fibromyalgia sufferer receives over £1.5M following 2 accidents at work

G.L. of Norwich was a carer involved in two lifting incidents at work in June and September 2004. Within 6 months of the second accident she was diagnosed Fibromyalgia. She was in a lot of pain, requiring extensive care and assistance, rendering her unable to work for the rest of her life.

Proving liability was extraordinarily complicated as it was not clear who was responsible for G.L’s injuries. G.L. was paid directly by the person whom she cared for, and the lifting equipment the Local Authority was supposed to provide was not provided. This equipment could have prevented injury.

Ordinarily, the lady for whom she was caring for would have been G.L’s employer, but she had no insurance and was not worth suing. Liability was resolved against the Local Authority, after a long fight, on a 70/30 basis in favour of G.L. The parties proceeded to quantify the claim. The evidence we obtained indicated that G.L’s condition had arisen solely as a result of the accidents.

Her case was due to go to trial to fix the damages in November 2011. Shortly before the trial, the Local Authority, who had previously been representing themselves, instructed solicitors who took the view that they needed further evidence. The matter was re-listed for trial in November 2012 but in a joint settlement meeting earlier that month, agreement was reached between the parties for the claim to be settled in the sum of £2.14 million gross, £1.5 million net (after the 30% reduction for liability.)

Lyndsey Ryan, solicitor for G.L. at Brian Barr, said “I am absolutely delighted that G.L’s case has settled at a level which means that she will be able to provide fully for her future. G.L. has had an awful time since the accident coming to terms with her condition and the impact it has had on her life. She is now in a position where she will be able to use her compensation to obtain the best treatment available to help manage her condition and obtain accommodation that will properly meet her needs. She will hopefully have a much better quality of life from now on. I know that this has made a real difference”.

G.L. said “It is such a relief to have the case finally brought to such a successful conclusion. It has been a really difficult period for me, but the professionalism and understanding shown by all at Brian Barr, and particularly Lyndsey, has really helped me and kept me going. I am looking forward to focusing on my future with a home I can enjoy and the treatment to hopefully help me to manage my condition better.”

Louise Balsom -v- Mr P Smith

Louise Balsom recovered very substantial damages after moving her case to Brian Barr Solicitors. She had been involved in a road traffic accident which was not her fault. She suffered an initial whiplash injury which in the months following the accident developed into Fibromyalgia diagnosed several years later. The Defendants maintained that Louise had not developed Fibromyalgia as a result of the accident. The Judge considered the medical evidence very carefully.

Brian Barr win £595,000 for FM accident victim

Sally Chapman developed Fibromyalgia after a road accident. She asked Brian Barr to take over her case after her Solicitor advised her to accept £77,000. We won a settlement of £595,000 for her.

Sally was a vivacious young mum to 3 children, working full time and doing lots of sporting activities, when she was involved in what appeared to be a relatively minor road accident in April 2005. The Defendant drove into the rear of her vehicle. She injured her neck and thought she had developed a whiplash injury which would resolve itself over time.

Unfortunately, Sally’s symptoms did not improve despite physiotherapy and numerous doctors’ appointments. Told that her symptoms would improve, in fact they got worse. She managed to continue in her employment as a customer services manager for six months until her company closed down. By this stage Sally was so unwell that she was unable to get another job.

Over two years after the accident, Sally was diagnosed with FM. It prevented her from returning to work and she needed considerable care and assistance from family and friends.

At the time that Sally transferred her case to Brian Barr Solicitors, the Defendants had just obtained their own rheumatologist’s report and put forward an offer to settle of £77,000. Sally’s own Rheumatologist thought that her FM was triggered by the accident whereas the Defendant’s Rheumatologist felt that she would have developed Fibromyalgia in any event and that it had developed too long after the accident to be linked back to the accident.

This was not accepted by Lyndsey Ryan, the solicitor at Brian Barr dealing with the case, who looked very closely at Sally’s pre-accident medical records and ensured that the medical experts in the case did likewise.

Sally’s experts maintained their opinions in discussions with top Barristers. As the case moved closer to trial, the parties had a joint settlement meeting where offers were put forward by both sides. Settlement was not achieved on the day, but the case settled shortly afterwards for £595,000.

SJ v CC College – accident success

SJ was a skilled hairdresser and beautician. She qualified to become a lecturer in hairdressing and had just started her first full-time lecturing position in hairdressing and beauty when she suffered an accident at work.

A lecturer taking the previous class in the same room failed to put away an overhead projector and SJ tripped over the flex, falling heavily. She injured her neck, back and shoulder and tried to get back to work the next day but was in too much pain.

Sadly this young woman has not been able to work since. She developed whiplash-type pain and went from her GP to a physiotherapist, orthopaedic surgeon, neurologist, neurosurgeon and psychiatrist. She had repeated physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, scans, rehabilitation, cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling. Nothing helped. She continued to suffer widespread chronic pain and, what was in some ways worse, she had no medical explanation for it. Finally five years after the accident she saw a consultant rheumatologist who diagnosed fibromyalgia. She instructed Brian Barr.

We promptly engaged an independent rheumatologist who produced a report supporting the link between the accident and the fibromyalgia. The Defendant’s nominated rheumatologist doubted whether SJ had fibromyalgia and insisted that, even if she did have, it had come on at least five years after the accident and had nothing to do with it.

The parties and their lawyers got together to try to hammer out a settlement. SJ’s argument was that, but for the accident, she would have been a successful lecturer and become a head of department within five years. The college’s lawyers poured scorn on this. She had only been a lecturer for five weeks. How could she possibly say how her career path would have developed? After negotiating for a day, SJ received £356,000 and her costs. It had been a long battle. She was understandably delighted it finished well.

GL v Scottish Widows – critical illness success

GL held critical illness cover under a Scottish Widows mortgage and business cover plan.

The policy paid out in the event of permanent total disability. This was defined as an inability for over six months to perform three or more of the following activities without the assistance of another person:-
a) Washing and bathing
b) Dressing and undressing
c) Eating
d) Toileting
e) Transferring

GL and her GP advised Scottish Widows in October 2005 that she was suffering with fibromyalgia and colitis and had difficulty with tasks a), b) and d). The claim was rejected in November 2005. Scottish Widows said these illnesses fluctuate in their severity and although the symptoms were currently restricting GL, Scottish Widows were unable to conclude that that disability was either total or permanent. [This was misleading because the disability did not need to be either total or permanent, just to have lasted for over six months and require assistance with three of the tasks above.]

The rejection letter sparked an indignant response from the senior occupational therapist on the intensive case management team for the local NHS Trust. She wrote back in November 2005 supporting GL’s claim. In December 2005 Scottish Widows rejected it again on the basis “we still do not feel that you satisfy the definition of total permanent disability”. At this point, GL understandably gave up.

In 2006, GL instructed us on another matter and discussed this situation with us. We put pressure on Scottish Widows and by December 2006 they had agreed to pay her in full.

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