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Proof of injuries

(22 Posts)
JanJanJanJan Sun 25-Oct-09 06:01:40

Can anyone assist? (sorry about the long windedness) I was involved in a car accident almost 2 years ago. I was stationery at the time. The other party admitted 100% liability immediately. I used my car insurance solicitors/legal dept. I suffered whiplash to my neck, back pain, shoulder and foot pain from when trying to do an emergency stop (Automatic reaction as I was already stopped). The solicitors I was using were pressurising me to settle for 2K (4th offer) for "whiplash". My injuries were all recorded at the time so I insisted on not settling any claim until I had medical evidence detailing any future problems I may encounter as am still suffering pain to date. After suffering all this time and had various physio treatment etc I have been told that I have two slipped discs in my lower back and need to see a neurosurgeon, have a fracture in my neck, problem with clavicle on shulder from where seatbelt was holding me back and shoulder forced forward and my foot is twisted, an xray shows signs of arthritis in the joints that was jolted whem my foot slammed on the clutch. I may have to have surgery to try and correct this but if I currently have to wears insoles to try and keep my foot in the correct position. I am 42 and understand you can have degenerative changes with age but I know myself that all these injuries were caused through the accident as I had NO problems whatsoever beforehand. I have changed Solicitors now, who are now trying to obtain further medical reports etc. Does anyone know how my case will be proven. If it goes to court at 3 years I may not have all the proof that I assume would be needed and dont know how it is proven that the accident caused my injuries. Any advice or guidance will be greatly appreciated.

meep Sun 25-Oct-09 07:08:48

The proof will be from the independent medical reports that your solicitors get for you. The doctors/experts will give their opinion on whether your current symptoms have been caused by teh accident.

Many Orthopods report that a lot of back problems are caused by degenerative changes. However they shoudl be able to give a time frame for you ie/ if it had not been for the accident you wouldn't have had these symptoms for x number of years.

It is really hard for accident victims to accept that the medical view is that they would have suffered problems anyway even if it had not been for the accident. But what the doctors/experts are trying to say is that the accident brought symptoms forward by a number of years. They will also give opinion on wwhther some symptoms are directly caused by teh accident.

It is a bitter pill to swallow when you are told that a symptom you feel/know was caused by the accident is dismissed as degenerative by a doctor. But I have seen hundreds of reports and the majority do cite degenerative changes and I can say that nearly every client is dumfounded by it.

But you cannot disprove your own medical evidence. If you are unhappy with it you can ask for a second opinion - but you may have to pay for the report yourself depending on how your case is being funded. Also if one doctor has said something you don't agree with it is highly likely that the other sides doctor is saying something that you are even less likley to agree with!

The expert wil base their opinion on your medical records, x-rays, reports from your treating doctors and hopefully an examination of you. There is enough of a histroy of your position pre-accident and post accident for them to give a report and say what injuries have been caused by the accident and what conditions have been brought forward.

HTH?

posieparksherbroom Sun 25-Oct-09 07:17:11

Good God I thought this was easy to prove, the stupid cow girl I hot at ten miles an hour(max) when she was stationary managed to claim for expensive injuries that she had not mentioned in four weeks when we were going to settle without insurance!!

posieparksherbroom Sun 25-Oct-09 07:17:26

I hit! not hot.

meep Sun 25-Oct-09 07:23:41

posie, there is research that shows that low impact crashes can cause more serious injuries than higher impact (by that i don't mean really bad crashes just higher speed whiplash type claims). And unfotunately with back claims symptoms can appear a days/weeks down the line. A good medical expert can spot the fakers though!

posieparksherbroom Sun 25-Oct-09 07:48:35

I barely hit the woman, we were both stationary and I was 3 feet behind her I then clipped (no damage to my car) the back of her. A good fake can read up on the symptoms and get a good claim!!

mumofsatan Sun 25-Oct-09 07:56:51

I am by no means an expert on personal injury cases, but I have been through the system after I was injured many years ago. My case ended up going to the High Court where I eventually settled when the other side made a payment into court which I decided to accept rather than it go all the way to a contested hearing.

One thing that you should think about is issuing proceedings to protect your position in case you don't settle (if you haven't already) I think the time limit is 3 years although someone may correct me on that one.

As meep has said, with back injuries they are not always apparent immediately.
After my accident, I was taken to hospital and the obvious injuries were treated. I complained of back pain but was told it was probably pulled muscles and to take paracetamol.
My pain and symptoms got worse over the coming months and years and eventually I was referred for CT scans. It took years to get referred to a good hospital in London and have all the CT and MRI scans that were needed.
Eventually, I was diagnosed as having a displaced pelvis and 2 prolapsed vertebra. My accident was in 1991 and eventually in 2000 I underwent major spinal surgery. I have titanium pins holding my lower spine together and shortly after the surgery suffered a dvt which has had an ongoing impact on my health.

During my last two pregnancies I was on bed rest for most of the last 3 months, had to inject anti coagulants into my stomach daily due to my increased dvt risk and had to have CS 3 weeks early. All due to my original back injury.
I am in constant pain and to be honest, don't remember a time in the last 17 years when I haven't had pain.

I don't want to worry you, but wish to make you aware that you need to ensure that you are correctly diagnosed and treated as early as possible. I was subsequently told that if my injuries had been diagnosed correctly, I would probably have never needed such major surgery as treatment by a chiropractor may have rectified the problem if caught soon enough.
I have had further problems recently which are clearly triggered by my initial injury and am back in the system having CT scans etc and may need further surgery.
I cannot work and have not been able to for the last 4 years. Pretty relieved I didn't accept the first offer made.

Are your new solicitors specialist PI lawyers? That is essential. Good luck to you

meep Sun 25-Oct-09 08:19:10

ah posie - that is where the problem lies. In "low value" cases (ie/ not worth 10's of thousands) it is unlikely that the woman would get sent to a decent expert who woudl spot if she was faking. I have consulted with lots of medical experts and they are very clever in how they spot fakes. Also the insurance company won't pay for surveillance in a low value claim.

Alas a GP's are unlikely to spot fakers.

mumofsatan sounds like you have had a really tough time - glad you got your settlement.

And yes - never ever accept the first offer!

Georgimama Sun 25-Oct-09 08:24:57

Yes, it's curious (I am a PI lawyer) that insurance companies are unwilling to pay about £100 quid extra for a orthopaedic surgeon's report rather than a GP report, and yet the orthop's report is likely to lead to the claim being more conservatively valued than the GP one. Just as it is curious that they make insulting low offers, or fail to comply with the protocol, so you issue, costing them many hundreds more. But of course, high insurance premiums are the fault of nasty, grabbing PI lawyers rather than the inefficiencies of the insurance industry (and breathe).

And I agree with everything meep says, btw.

meep Sun 25-Oct-09 08:38:21

grin at Georgimama!

When you hear a story like mumofsatan's it makeds you realise that there is some good in it all. I have to say that I hate doing the small whiplash type claims - and much prefer ones where you will really benefit someone's life at the end of it.

God - that makes me sound horribly worthy...........

mumofsatan Sun 25-Oct-09 08:56:49

so can either meep or Georgiamama confirm whether it is 3 or 6 years ref issuing? Its bugging me now grin

meep Sun 25-Oct-09 08:57:33

3 years!

mumofsatan Sun 25-Oct-09 09:51:47

thanks, baby brain hasn't totally set in then wink

JanJanJanJan Sun 25-Oct-09 12:31:40

Hi all, Thank you so much for your responses, they are greatly appreciated. Its the "proving" of my injuries that have been causing concern for me. I agree there will be changes in the body due to aging etc but would have expected at least one of my injuries to have recovered fully. An Independent Medical expert did a report and found a fracture in my neck and his comments said "could be a fracture that hasn't healed" or "could be a fracture that has been there from birth". When I read this I asked the question "Which one is it then", bearing in mind the xray of my neck had taken almost 18 months to be carried out. The ME replied saying "its from birth". I have now questioned how come he is saying this of late and not in the original report. (I think he was annoyed at me questioning him to be honest). I also said if they had xrayed my neck at the beginning I'm sure they would have seen a new fracture as like I said earlier I had no problems whatsoever before the accident. How would I prove either way? Thanks.

Georgimama Mon 26-Oct-09 19:50:52

You can't prove it either way. The only thing you can do is get another report (which you will have to pay for probably) and see whether it supports him or gives another view. But if you've already disclosed the other report you are essentially screwed.

And remember that in more valuable claims the defendant's insurers are unlikely to be content with a Claimant instructed expert's report, even if they jointly selected him; they'll get their own medical evidence and you can bet your bottom dollar it will be from someone who thinks all claimants are scrounging work shy bastards trying to rip the insurance company off. And then it would be up to the judge to decide who they prefer.

Does your medical expert's report not say anything about acceleration of onset of degenerative changes/exacerbation of pre-existing, non symptomatic, problems?

JanJanJanJan Tue 27-Oct-09 07:55:09

Georgimama

One paragraph says "it is my opinion that the relevant accident had caused the symptoms and the symptoms are not likely to settle down because of the degenerative changes in the lumber spine" and then another says "it is my opinion that on the balance of probabilities, the residual symptoms in her neck would continue to improve and settle by the end of 18 months from date of injury and any symptoms beyond this period would not be related to the accident"

Georgimama Tue 27-Oct-09 19:45:50

So there has been an acceleration of degenerative changes? Has your solicitor asked the expert to clarify by how long the onset of these symptoms has been accelerated? Can you try and get the expert to concede that it is entirely possible (if the degenerative changes were completely without symptoms prior to the accident) that these changes would not have become symptomatic without the accident?

Lilymaid Tue 27-Oct-09 19:53:32

I think the time limit for personal injury clains is 7 years - it certainly was when I made a claim for not dissimilar injuries.
I presume you have hospital records of the injuries and would be able to get reports from the various doctors you have had to see.
I waited several years before I finally submitted my claim. You should then have another medical examination so that your current state can be assessed. The other side will then ask you to go to another independent medical examination.
The case will probably be settled out of court in the end - I think I was told that around 90% are.

Georgimama Tue 27-Oct-09 19:55:58

Not in this country it isn't, it's three years, unless you are under 18. There are a few exceptions but it's safest to think that court proceedings need to be issued by the third anniversary of the accident if you are an adult.

Lilymaid Tue 27-Oct-09 20:03:28

Ah, I must be confused (accident over 20 years ago) - sols must have made claim within 3 years, though it took a total of 7 years from the date of my accident to settle!

Georgimama Tue 27-Oct-09 20:10:30

Yes, that can easily happen!

JanJanJanJan Wed 28-Oct-09 05:51:48

Georgimama,
It appears so, but when I questioned this comment with my first solicitor I was told "every day of your life from the age of approx 21 there are degenerative changes" I constantly felt I was being fobbed off when I asked anything. All they appeared to want me to do was settle. That's why I changed Solicitors. My current solicitor is questioning a number of comments written in the experts report at present. There appears to be a few contradictory comments....My solicitor has also been writing to all the doctors/hospitals involved for reports on my treatments etc so far and there are a few...I am still undergoing treatments for my foot, shoulder and off to see a Neurosurgeon on Monday re my back. Just hoping I dont need surgery!! I recall my Solicitor saying if we dont get a reply from the ME reference our questions etc we may end up seeing another ME.....

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