Man who developed fibromyalgia after car was struck head on awarded €2m in High Court

By Ann O’Loughlin

A man who was injured in a violent impact when another car crashed in to his own and which he said triggered a chronic pain condition has been awarded €2m by the High Court.

Mr Justice Henry Abbott said he was satisfied the diagnosis of Donal Keating’s fibromyalgia after the accident was a real diagnosis.

Notwithstanding his earlier scepticism the judge said because fibromyalgia is a default diagnosis and “ in many ways somewhat of a mystery” , Mr Justice Abbott said he was strengthened in his conclusion Mr Keating’s physical complaints were due to the accident because an urologist traced the 48 year old’s severe groin pain to nerve damage which was traceable to the impact.

The Judge said he was of the opinion Mr Keating’s fibromyalgia will be persistent and persuasive as a long running back injury and he awarded damages for past and future pain, with the bulk of the award for loss of wages and future medical costs.

Fibromyalgia syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue and symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems and painful tender points or trigger points.

Manager, Donal Keating (48) Oyster Bay Court, Carlingford, Co Louth had sued Ligita Belajeva, Beacghgrove Lawns, Monaghan, Co Monaghan as a result of the accident at Rice’s Bridge, Current Road, Dundalk, Co Louth on July 23, 2011.

The case was before the court for assessment of damages only as liability was admitted in the case. However it was claimed there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Keating in relation to his recovery in his failure to engage in aerobic exercises in the swimming pool.

Mr Justice Abbott said prior to the collision Mr Keating saw another motor vehicle driven by Ligita Belajeva approach in an out of control fashion.

Mr Keating slowed down and pulled in to the left as much as he could but the impact was heavy and almost head on.

Mr Keating in evidence described the accident as an extremely violent impact and Mr Keating thought he was going to the die in the accident.

He was taken to hospital but discharged and said he had pains in chest shoulders and spine and two days after the crash he went to his doctor.

He reported that two weeks after the accident his pains got worse and by January 2015, he was complaining of continuing on going pain.

Mr Keating said that three or four years after the accident his spine and neck were restricted and his chest and spine where sore and he got pain after walking 50 metres.

Mr Keating, the judge said attempted to return to work in the family business but he said his wrists were so sore he was unable to touch half the keyboard.

In 2014 an orthopaedic surgeon reported he had fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

Mr Justice Abbott assessed contributory negligence on Mr Keating’s behalf at 33per cent. The judge said the only item which could be clearly reduced by a finding of contributory negligence for not engaging in water based aerobic activities are the damages awarded for physical pain and suffering and reduced it from €60,000 to €40,000.

KEYWORDS: Court, Accident

 

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