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Munden v Bunten, Peterborough County Court, 21 January 2002

20 November 2002
The issues

Psychiatric damage – neck.

The facts

The Claimant, a female Meals on Wheels delivery driver aged 44 at the date of the accident and 48 at the date of Trial, suffered minor tissue injuries to the neck and significant psychological injury after a water skier collided with her jet ski, throwing her into the sea. Medical evidence showed that the Claimant had suffered a soft tissue sprain, from which she had fully recovered within a month. Her major injury was psychological, although the Claimant had substantial pre-existing psychological problems. The Claimant had thought that she would drown after being pulled under the water by the skier’s rope. She developed a fear of water and thought about the accident constantly. She suffered nightmares of being trapped under water. Her symptoms were particularly severe during the first 12 months, during which time her sexual activity was reduced. Her symptoms began to improve and she resumed swimming 2 years after the accident. Her symptoms did not impact on her ability to work.

Expert evidence supported a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At Trial however, the only psychological symptoms attributable to the accident were occasional nightmares, which were reducing in frequency.

The decision

The Judge found that the Claimant would make a full recovery in the near future and held that the appropriate award for general damages lay in the JSB bracket for most moderate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Accordingly, he assessed general damages at £6,500.00.

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