Case Vignette – September 2018


When There Is Nothing To Be Found, Is It Possible That Nothing Has Happened?

Although plaintiffs can almost always clearly explain an event, it is sometimes more difficult to relate that description to the claimed effects.

Sep CV, man with hand on man's shoulder

I recognise that relatively trivial accidents can result in quite debilitating pathologies. In general however, there is an indirect but visible relationship between the magnitude of an incident and the physical outcome.

You will not be surprised that as medicolegal reporters, we are sometimes confronted with a very significant mismatch. Injuries such as a simple tap on the shoulder are claimed to have given rise to a broad spectrum of suffering in the neck, the back, the hips, the knees and even in the feet.

I realise that strange things do happen. Those happenings however are rare. In reality, if there has been little or no injury, it is more likely than not that little or nothing has happened.

Sep CV, man about to trip on yellow metal bars (1)

Advocates for the plaintiff are obviously tasked with the duty of maximising a claim. Common sense must prevail. Those acting for the defendant are not blind and neither is the medicolegal reporter.

Whilst I can see some benefit in accepting injury spectra just outside the norm, if no injury has been sustained, there should be no compensation.

The best expert reporters will call it as they see it … and explain why.