WHIPLASH & SOFT TISSUE QUANTUM UPDATE

 

colin_richmond By Colin Richmond

 

Whiplash quantum updates always seem to generate a reasonable amount of interest, presumably because they involve with the sort of cases that most practitioners deal with on a daily basis.

The 13th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines has now been with us for about six months. Accordingly, I thought that it would be worthwhile posting details of some recent quantum decisions.

Neck, Shoulders, Ribs – Five Weeks

K v Britannia Taxis (2016) – Lawtel AM0202852

The claimant (C), a 62-year-old man, was injured in a road traffic accident in May 2015.

C sustained soft tissue injuries to his right clavicle, neck and shoulders, bruising to his ribs and travel anxiety. His neck, shoulder and clavicle pain was of moderate intensity and resolved by five weeks after the accident date. He attended his GP, where he was signed off work for two weeks and prescribed painkillers. He experienced driver anxiety for a period of six months.

General damages at current values of £1,300 were agreed, not including the 10% uplift.

Neck, Shoulders, Back, Elbow – Six Weeks

K (A Child) v Shirley (2015) – Lawtel AM0202708

The claimant (C), an 11-year-old boy, was injured in a road traffic accident in October 2013.

C suffered from pain in his neck, referred into both shoulders, his lumbar spine and left elbow. His symptoms took six weeks to resolve, during which time he was unable to play sports. He experienced travel anxiety for three months and was shocked and shaken for two days.

General damages at current values of £2,002, including the 10% uplift, were agreed and approved.

Neck, Back, Shoulders, Chest – 5-7 Months

Vicky Matthews v Nicola Langley (2015) – Lawtel AM0202811

The claimant (C), a 39-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in November 2014.

C sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck, shoulders, lower back and chest, along with travel anxiety. She was treated at the scene by paramedics and the police. She was taken by ambulance to A & E, where her treatment comprised of analgesia and advice. She attended her GP twice and was prescribed painkillers. She took analgesia regularly for the first few weeks and then as required.

C was absent from work as a full-time nursery nurse for seven days. Her ability to lift heavy items was initially moderately restricted, improving to a mild restriction by examination at one month post-accident. C’s sleep had initially been moderately restricted, improving to mild on examination.

C suffered from moderate travel anxiety after the accident, which had improved to mild on examination. Her physical symptoms were mild by examination, however neck, shoulder and back movement remained restricted and resulted in pain and discomfort.

The prognosis was that C’s neck, shoulder and back symptoms would fully resolve, with physiotherapy, by five to seven months after the date of the accident. C underwent nine sessions of physiotherapy.

C’s chest pain, caused by the impact of the seatbelt, was expected to resolve by two to four months of the accident. C’s travel anxiety was expected to resolve within five to seven months.

General damages at current values of £2,243, including 10% uplift, were awarded.

Neck, Back – 12 Months

Evans v EUI Limited (2015) – Lawtel AM0202783

The claimant (C), a 48-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in September 2014.

C suffered neck and back injuries. She did not seek formal medical treatment, but did engage in a course of physiotherapy. She was unable to carry out heavy domestic chores initially and did not attend the gym for two weeks, before gradually returning.

C’s neck injury resolved within six to eight weeks of the accident date and her back injury was expected to recover within 9 to 15 months of the accident. Due to the broad prognosis, the judge treated C’s back injury as a 12-month injury and valued it accordingly.

General damages at current values of £3,502, including uplift, were awarded.

Neck, Back, Wrist – 12 Months

Khan v Palmer (2015) – Lawtel AM0202831

The claimant (C), a 20-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in February 2015.

C sustained injuries to her neck, middle and upper back and right wrist. She experienced numbness and “pins and needles” in her right shoulder and arm. Five months after the accident she informed the medical expert that the injuries had improved and were moderate in intensity. Upon examination there was restricted movement in the neck of between 40 and 50 per cent, some restriction of movements in the back and tenderness in the wrist.

Following the accident C was absent from work for one week and then worked reduced hours for approximately one-and-a-half weeks. Her sporting activities, ability to care for her disabled brother and her domestic activities of cleaning, DIY, carrying bags and lifting items, personal care and sleeping were adversely affected. She also experienced travel anxiety.

The medical expert expected that C’s spinal injuries would fully resolve by 12 months after the accident and that the wrist injuries would resolve by 8 months after the accident.

General damages at current values of £3,386 were awarded.

Neck, Back, Wrist – 12 Months

Jessica Fildes v RC (2015) – Lawtel AM0202810

The claimant (C), a 23-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in November 2014.

C sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and right wrist. She developed general anxiety and a fear of travelling. She was unable to continue using a gym for four months.

C’s wrist injury was expected to resolve within 9 months from the date of the accident, her neck and back injuries within 12 months and the travel anxiety within 9 months.

General damages at current values of £4,503 were awarded.

Back, Anxiety, Depression – 15 Months

Freeman v Fogarty (2015) – Lawtel AM0202784

The claimant (C), a 53-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in November 2014.

C suffered from pain in her lower back, anxiety and depression. By three months after the accident she still had up to 40 per cent restriction in movement in her back and she had made four visits to her GP. She met the criteria for a diagnosis of an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and mood disturbance under the DSM 5 criteria.

C worked 18 hours a week as a customer assistant and took four weeks off work as a result of her injuries. She found household cleaning, ironing, lifting items and shopping difficult and remained affected three months after the accident. She was recommended to take eight sessions of physiotherapy at three months but did not take that up.

C’s psychiatric symptoms led to a reduction in socialising and she suffered from “driver anxiety,” although she continued to drive. When examined by a psychologist less than five months post-accident she no longer met the requirements for a formal diagnosis of a DSM 5 recognised psychiatric disorder.

C’s lower back symptoms were expected to resolve after 15 months and her anxiety and depression after 17 months.

General damages at current values of £3,502, including uplift, were awarded.

Neck, Back, Shoulders – 15 months

Horton v Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire Police (2015) – Lawtel AM0202746

The claimant (C), a 22-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in May 2014. She sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and shoulders, with bruising to her legs, and developed a specific phobia of travel anxiety with avoidance of travel.

C undertook a course of physiotherapy and required a week off work. Her bruising resolved within five to seven weeks of the accident. Her neck, back and shoulder symptoms were expected to resolve within 13 to 15 months of the accident date, with the travel anxiety expected to resolve within 11 to 17 months.

General damages at current values of £6,222, including uplift, were agreed.

Neck, Shoulder – 18 months

Habib v Mohammed (2015) – AM0202798

The claimant (C), a 30-year-old man, was injured in a road traffic accident in May 2014.

C sustained soft tissue injuries to his neck and shoulder. He felt “pins and needles” down his left arm. He attended his GP and underwent physiotherapy. On examination at four months post-accident he was described as being unable to lie on his left hand side due to neck pain and prolonged driving was especially painful. He was taking paracetamol and co-codamol on a daily basis and he continued to experience pins and needles in his left hand and arm. Upon examination, the expert noted that there was tenderness and discomfort in the left trapezius muscle.

C was unable to look after his disabled wife and had difficulty with domestic chores (including ironing, hovering, shopping and lifting heavy items) for eight weeks. He found it difficult to drive for eight months and was unable to do DIY or gardening for 12 months. He was unable to play with and lift his baby girl due to his injuries.

A full recovery was expected by 18 months after the accident.

General damages at current values of £4,003, including uplift, were awarded.

Neck, Shoulder – 4-5 Year Acceleration

Catherine Jenkins v First Central Insurance Management Ltd (2015) – Lawtel AM0202812

The claimant (C), a 42-year-old woman, was injured in a road traffic accident in May 2012. C sustained a whiplash injury to her neck and right shoulder and also suffered from headaches.

C took two days off work as a result of the accident. She underwent two sessions of osteopathy around two months post-accident, and a course of 14 physiotherapy sessions between six and nine months post-accident. C’s injuries improved as a result and she had been able to return to her hobby of going to the gym about one year after the accident.

C’s neck pain and headaches continued intermittently. She took no further time off work and sought no further treatment. However, C struggled with some household tasks and the judge found that her intermittent symptoms did continue to have a significant impact on her life.

C suffered from travel anxiety for one month.

An MRI scan revealed multi-level degenerative changes in C’s cervical spine. Apart from a short-lived spell of neck ache 10 years before, her neck had been asymptomatic at the time of the accident. C’s expert concluded that the accident had accelerated the onset of symptoms in her neck by four to five years.

General damages at current values of £8,477, not including uplift, were awarded.

 

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