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Emma McCord v William Thomson, Edinburgh Sheriff Court ? 16 October 2008


The Pursuer (aged 36 at Proof) was injured in March 2007 when the Defender's car collided with the bus on which she was travelling. The Defender admitted liability but quantum was disputed and a Summary Cause Proof took place, at which the only witness was the Pursuer. The terms of an expert medical report were agreed. As a result of the collision, the Pursuer sustained soft tissue injuries to her lower back, left wrist, forearm and elbow, as well as to her left ankle. She also developed mild tendonitis in her ankle. She attended her GP the day after the accident and he advised rest and pain killers. The injuries to the Pursuer's wrist, forearm and elbow resulted in bruising and swelling, but the discomfort resolved after 4 days. The Pursuer had lower back pain for about 10 days but the symptoms then settled, although they did not resolve fully until about 8 months after the accident. During that time, she continued to experience discomfort about 3-4 days a week, particularly when sitting or standing. The Pursuer's left ankle was swollen and bruised. The injury was slow to resolve and the Pursuer continued to experience pain and discomfort almost daily for about 6 months. The symptoms then improved, although were aggravated by driving. The Consultant who examined the Pursuer concluded that the symptoms should clear up by October 2008 and there should be no long term consequences. The Pursuer did not take any time off work following the accident. She had to alter her exercise routine. The Pursuer did not consult her GP further, although she was examined twice by a Consultant. The Pursuer sought an award of £4,500 for solatium comprising £1,500 for her back injury and £3,000 for her ankle injury. Several cases were referred to in support of this valuation, as well as the JSB Guidelines. The Defender argued that solatium was worth £2,400 on the basis that the injuries had had little effect on the Pursuer's lifestyle and she had not required to take time off work or visit her GP for treatment. The Sheriff awarded damages for solatium of £3,400 together with interest at 4% from the date of the accident until the Proof and 8% thereafter. He did not accept that the Pursuer's injuries had had little effect on her lifestyle. The fact that she had not returned to see her GP did not alter the fact that she continued to suffer pain and discomfort in her back and ankle. The Pursuer deserved credit for following her doctor's advice and for continuing to work despite being in pain. A number of cases were considered, although several involved whiplash injuries and the Sheriff did not find these of great help. He was not persuaded by the Defender's submission to consider the Pursuer's two major injuries separately. He looked at the Pursuer's injuries as a whole and took into account the pain and loss suffered and the lengthy period involved before a complete recovery was made.