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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Claim Case Studies

Brian Barr Wins £905,000 for CRPS Client.

Neil Swift developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome following an accident at work.
Neil was working for a civil engineering company as an HGV driver. Returning to the company yard one day, he found a JCB was parked across and blocking the entrance. Under instruction from his manager, Neil went to move the JCB so that he could park his HGV in the yard. The JCB had been vandalised, including having its windows smashed. Neil climbed up the steps to the cab, but was unable to open the damaged door. Instead he tried to reach through the broken window to open the door from the inside. As he did so, he slipped, badly cutting his left arm on the remaining shards of glass.

As a result, Neil damaged the radial artery, median nerve and flexor tendons. He developed CRPS and underwent a median nerve block, Guanethidine blocks, physiotherapy, Pain Management, a Sympathectomy and nerve graft.

His left arm has been left virtully funtionless and though right handed, Neil has been unable to work since.

The company quickly admitted liability as they had exposed Neil to a risk of injury, however they argued that he should also accept partial responsibility as he should not have put his arm through the broken window. This is a fair argument, however they were initially looking for a discount of 25%, which we negotiated down to 15%.

It was a dificult time for Neil, his wife and two young children. The unrelenting pain meant that his role as father and husband was tough, as he wasn’t able to work, or do very much at all. However he and his wife battled through, and now with the prospect of financial security for the future, life will start to pick up again.

There are many different aspects that make up a claim. A rough breakdown of Neils is as follows: (15% discount is applied afterwards)
Pain and suffering – £100,000
Interest – £4,500
Ongoing treatment costs – £25,000
Past loss of earnings – £90,000
Interest – £828
Future loss of earnings – £400,000
Pension – £25,000
Past care – £35,000
Miscellaneous expenses (including interest) – £50,000
Transport, aids and equipment and expenses (including interest) – £26,692
Future care – £308,057

The final figure was just over £905000. Following the settlement, Neil commented “If I could turn back time four years I would. I loved getting up and going out to work. Driving HGV vehicles is all I’ve ever done. The accident in itself was horrendous but life since has been far worse. The pain I suffer on a daily basis and lack of independence has been the biggest challenge and still is. Brian and his team have worked tirelessly to get the result achieved. Although I wish I could turn back time, Brian has helped to get a result that will help me to provide for my family in the future.”

Brian Barr was delighted with the high level of compensation he was able to secure for Neil. “This will go some way to making life a little easier for Neil and his wonderful family. The accident came as a terrible blow to Neil, but he is a brave man and he has managed to make the most of very difficult circumstances. I feel quite sure that he will continue to do so in the future with continuing excellent support from his wife Amanda. We have specialist knowledge and expertise in CRPS cases and we are happy to help as many CRPS sufferers as we can”.

Judge awards £290,000 to Brian Barr’s CRPS client.

Neil Bredbury injured his hand at work. He developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). He brought a claim against his employers who accused him of grossly exaggerating for the purposes of financial gain. He took his case to trial represented by Brian Barr Solicitors and succeeded for some £290,000.

Mr Bredbury was a cash in transit security guard with Securitas UK Limited (now called Loomis). In August 2005 he injured his hand in a drum at work and developed CRPS.

On 5th May and 3rd June 2006, the Defendants’ surveillance operatives caught the Claimant on video vigorously polishing his car with his injured right hand and driving to Lytham when he had said that he did not drive. They accepted that he had been suffering with CRPS until May/June 2006, but thereafter alleged he had made a full or almost full recovery.

The Defendants claimed that there was a gross disparity between Mr Bredbury’s presentation on video and his stated abilities to various doctors. They asserted that he had deliberately exaggerated his injuries and offered him £12,700 to settle his claim in May 2008. Mr Bredbury’s union solicitors urged him to accept. He decided instead to approach Brian Barr Solicitors.

We immediately obtained copies of the videos which Mr Bredbury had still not seen.

He and his partner worked diligently on them and produced an excellent written critique pointing out that whilst it appeared that he had spent two and a half hours polishing his car with his injured right hand, he was, in fact, only shown for 13 minutes in total doing that polishing. Over an hour had been cut out or not filmed. The critique also highlighted many occasions on the May and June film, as well as two shorter films in December 2006, when Mr Bredbury was clearly using his left hand, whereas had he made a full recovery by May/June 2006, as the Defendants asserted, he would have been using his dominant right hand.

A full witness statement was prepared in which Mr Bredbury largely drew upon what had already been in his critique document. This was combined with his efforts to seek light work with his employers from November 2005 onwards despite his disabilities.

Brian Barr noted that Mr Bredbury’s GP and Pain Clinic records received from the union solicitors were out of date and incomplete. We applied for and obtained updated records. We noted that Mr Bredbury was receiving physiotherapy at the same time as he was receiving pain clinic treatment in the crucial period in mid 2006. We obtained all the physiotherapy records.

We instructed a London Barrister who considered that the Defendant’s existing offer of £12,700 should be accepted. We then instructed a Manchester Barrister who said the same. It was only when we approached a third Barrister that real progress was made.

The pain consultants for both sides had been very sceptical on seeing the videos and believed that Mr Bredbury was exaggerating.

However, once Mr Bredbury’s pain consultant saw the records that we had obtained and saw better witness statements, his position changed. He was much more supportive than he had been.

The case went to trial in November 2009. Mr Bredbury’s hard work on the videos really paid off. Although the pain consultants felt that they showed normal or near normal use of the right hand, the Judge totally disagreed. He saw clear signs of disability.

The Judge found in Mr Bredbury’s favour on virtually every point. He was awarded damages of some £360,000, but because there had been an agreement on liability on an 80/20 basis in favour of Mr Bredbury, his damages were reduced to £290,000. This “hopeless” case had been transformed from an ugly duckling into an attractive swan by the use of good old fashioned hard work and legal skills.

Ms BJB underwent various treatments for her injuries. Following the treatments she suffered dizziness, pain, headaches and nausea.Unfortunately, despite the treatments, Ms BJB was left with a wrist that was of little functional use. She had to wear a wrist splint during the day for the foreseeable future. She also suffered virtually continuous pain in her right hand.

Amongst other difficulties she experienced a reduced power of grip in her hand. This was particularly devastating for Ms BJB as prior to her accident she was a professional musician and a very gifted double bass player. She had studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Had she not succeeded as a soloist she would have obtained a position in a leading orchestra. However, as a result of her injuries she was unable to play the double bass. Her career as a professional musician had therefore come to an end.

The court accepted the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy had been caused by the accident and she was awarded £194,582.79 plus interest.

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