Laura was driving home from work on her honda hornet motorbike in October 2006. As she approached a zebra crossing she noticed a pedestrian was waiting to cross. She stopped to let the lady cross but was hit by an Opel Astra which had been travelling behind her and failed to stop.
Laura was thrown in the air and landed heavily on her back, banging her head.
Laura was taken by ambulance to St Thomas' Hospital for examination. She was told that she had broken any bones but that she was going to be admitted overnight for observation. Laura did not wish to remain in hospital and she discharged herself.
She stayed off work the next day. She had severe pain in the left side of her face and her neck was tight and uncomfortable. The pain in the middle of her back was also severe.
The next day she returned to work, taking a taxi in order to get there. Laura continued to be in considerable pain which she found disorientating. She was unable to concentrate on her work and she suffered considerable fatigue. She found the journey to and from work uncomfortable.
Laura subsequently suffered a severe back spasm. She consulted her GP who reassured her that in view of the hospital’s investigations and the way in which she was examining her she could not have sustained any fractures. Laura remained in quite considerable pain and discomfort for which her GP prescribed painkillers and muscle relaxants.
Laura embarked on a course of physiotherapy but the symptoms continued to trouble her and in November 2006 she was referred to a Consultant Rheumatologist.
At that time Laura was complaining of discomfort in her thoracic spine, variable left sided facial tingling and “heaviness” in her arms and hands. She had isotope bone and MRI scans and continued to undergo physiotherapy. Although her symptoms fluctuated in their severity, she remained in pain.
Laura was a salaried partner at a London law firm who headed up the firm’s (relatively new) property finance department. She worked long hours (50 hrs per week being typical). A significant part of her role involved generating new business and ensuring that existing clients were maintained. This meant wining and dining clients, much of which took place outside of normal office hours.
It was a role which required a good deal of energy and commitment and prior to the accident Laura was extremely fit.
Laura's employers were initially sympathetic but this appeared to wane in the light of the duration of symptoms combined with the economic downturn in the property market and she was made redundant.
It became a material issue in the claim to what extent the Laura's redundancy arose from the downturn and/or her inability to perform to the required standard due to ongoing symptoms.
Laura’s evidence and that of her work colleagues was that she would have ridden out the downturn but this was disputed.
Laura instructed Richard Earle to pursue a personal injury claim. After length investigations and negotiations, Richard obtained an offer of £200,000 which Laura was happy to accept.
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