Lacking Medical Evidence? Why Medical Evidence is Crucial?
Medical evidence is crucial – especially when lodging personal injury claims due to injuries sustained from a motor vehicle accident. George v Morgan & Anor  QDC 52,is a District Court of Queensland case that highlights the precarious nature of personal injury claims in slow moving vehicle accidents.. The plaintiff was unsuccessful in her claim as there was insufficient medical evidence to support her claim. This case highlights the importance of sound legal advice in assessing whether to bring a claim before the court, and what the likelihood of a successful claim may be in situations where medical evidence is unsupportive.
- On 5 July 2013 the first defendant reversed his car into the plaintiff’s Toyota Corolla while it was parked at a petrol station. The velocity of the impact was between 2.8 and 6.2 kilometres an hour. The plaintiff’s car moved only a short distance.
- The plaintiff alleged that she received injuries to her cervical spine and suffered severe headaches as the result of whiplash. These injuries culminated in a permanent disability and ongoing pain months later.
- No abnormalities were detected in X-rays, an MRI scan or medical examinations.
- The plaintiff sued the first defendant and his insurer, the second defendant, for damages.
Did the plaintiff suffer any personal injuries from being struck at a velocity of less than 10km?
- There was insufficient medical evidence to
support a finding that a front-end vehicle collision of a velocity
substantially less than 10km could result in serious harm. That is:
- According to medical experts, permanent whiplash injury from slow moving vehicle collisions is “most uncommon”. It is even more less likely to occur in a front-end vehicle collision;
- Literature presented by neurologist, Dr Todman, in favor of permanent injuries resulting from low speed collisions concluded that such injuries could only result in collisions over 10km per hour in velocity. In the instant case the plaintiff’s car was struck at less than 8 km per hour.
- Dr Pincus, another medical professional in orthopaedic surgery, concluded that the low-speed impact could result in soft tissue injury for “some days”, but considered a serious injury impossible.
- No abnormalities were detected in X-rays, an MRI scan, or medical examinations.
- The proof of any actual injury was reliant on
the plaintiff’s evidence which the court found to be unreliable.
- The plaintiff claimed she felt immediate pain in her neck after the collision, however video footage showed the plaintiff alighting from her vehicle, bending down and assessing damages, and leaning in through her window to retrieve her purse. All movements appeared” fluid and unremarkable” and disclosed “no sign of discomfort, physical difficulty or abnormality”;
- Though the plaintiff complained she suffered significant pain, records revealed she did not collect prescribed painkillers for such pain, but did fill other prescriptions for her contraception instead;
- The plaintiff sought medical attention on numerous occasions for matters other than whiplash injuries, which Clare J held to be notable in disproving the plaintiff’s credibility in determining the severity or actuality of any injuries.
Clare J was not persuaded on the balance of probabilities that any injury was caused by the collision. The plaintiff and first defendant’s collision had the potential to cause a short-term injury, but medical evidence was insufficient to support that a person struck at a velocity of lower than 10km an hour could suffer severe long-term injuries. Judgement was for the defendants.
For more information regarding slow moving vehicle accidents see below:
If you are unsure about your medical evidence or would like a second opinion about the course your lawyer is taking your claim, speak to an experienced Brisbane Motor Vehicle Injury Lawyers. If you would like to make an appointment to discuss your situation, please call us to make an appointment with one of our lawyers on 07 3252 0011.
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