The plaintiff, a 31 year-old woman, was a front seat passenger in a motor vehicle that was struck from behind by another vehicle. The force of the impact caused her to hit her head and she may have lost consciousness for a brief period of time. When she came to, she felt as though she was in a haze and had difficulty hearing people that were right next to her.
She was transported to Brigham & Women’s Hospital and evaluated in the emergency department where she was diagnosed with a head ache and soft tissue injuries and discharged home. Over the next couple of days, she began to experience increased heart rate, dizziness, and shortness of breath. She was evaluated by her primary care physician who referred her to specialists to determine the cause of these new symptoms.
She was thoroughly evaluated by cardiologists and pulmonologists to determine the cause, but none were uncovered.
The plaintiff also began treatment with a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with acute anxiety syndrome. Her physicians ultimately determined that her symptoms were caused by anxiety and not any underlying condition. The plaintiff continued with psychiatric treatment and was eventually able to control her symptoms.
The insurer challenged the causal relationship between the treatment and the symptoms the plaintiff developed after the motor vehicle accident. However, the plaintiff was successful in showing that despite all negative test results, the treatment was reasonably related to the motor vehicle accident and thus, the medical bills associated with such treatment – approximately $67,000 – would be an element of special damages for the jury to consider.
The case resolved after mediation and prior to the trial.
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