Our 62 year old client was operating her motor vehicle on her way to work, when struck in the rear by Defendants’ truck, forcing her vehicle to then strike the vehicle in front her.
Our client was caused to suffer post-traumatic fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder due to the accident which is amplifying her symptomatology further, and an exacerbation of preexisting cervical and lumbar degenerative spondylosis which had resolved. Our Expert, Dr. Leventhal was prepared to tell the jury that: “The theory on how trauma can initiate a generalized myofascial pain syndrome like fibromyalgia is that subsequent to the trauma in which there are soft tissue injuries, the process known as central sensitization takes place in which the pain centers continue to perceive ongoing pain impulses despite the fact that there should be normal resolution of these impulses with healing. An analogy would be phantom limb syndrome pain, in which patients, after having foot amputations, still feel pain at the site where the foot previously existed.”
But our client was not immediately diagnosed with post-traumatic fibromyalgia. Instead, she endured two years of painful yet fruitless medical treatments for unremitting pain in her neck and back, oppressive anxiety and nightmares about the accident, and depression as a result of pain and loss of her work and hobbies, before being properly diagnosed.
Since being properly diagnosed, our client is no better, but at least she now knows why. Although her symptoms wax and wane, she experiences, daily, all over body aches which increase with activities, constant pain in her neck which radiates into both arms, pain across her shoulder blades and pain across her low back and into her legs.
Dr. Leventhal, a rheumatologist, performed an independent medical examination. He reviewed extensive medical records, conducted a physical examination, and determined that our client suffered a chronic cervical and lumbar myofascial pain syndrome which has evolved into fibromyalgia syndrome as a result of the crash. He found all treatment she had received up to the time of his evaluation as reasonable, necessary and causally related to injuries suffered in the crash.
Dr. Leventhal concluded that Plaintiff suffers from the fibromyalgia syndrome which has caused serious impairment of bodily function. She continues to have problems with generalized pain and limitations in both her vocational and avocational activities and activities of daily living. The prognosis for improvement is poor due to the fact that fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome. The fact that her pain has been ongoing for nearly two years (at the time of his report and now 3 years) places her at a poor prognosis category. He opined that the injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident will be lifelong in duration and will require ongoing treatment including a regimented low level aerobic exercise program with slow gradual increments, improved sleep, and a trial of various medications.
Result: This case resolved before trial for $315,000.
Attorney: Anthony J. Baratta of Baratta, Russell & Baratta