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Mullins v Gray, Court of Appeal, 28 October 2004

4 November 2004
The issues

Egg Shell Skull – Pre-Existing Psychiatric Illness – To What Extent Claimant Should Recover Where An Injury Had Been Exacerbated By An Existing Condition Of Anxiety And Depression Short Of A Recognised Psychiatric Condition

The facts

The Claimant was injured in a road traffic accident – he had been hit from behind and had suffered a whiplash injury. Liability was not in issue. At the time of the accident the Claimant was suffering from anxiety and depression which exacerbated her pain and suffering.

The Judge found that the pre-existing condition had been exacerbated by the accident but did not make an award of damages at the top end of the scale on the basis that there was a lack of evidence to support a finding that she had suffered from a recognised psychiatric condition.

The decision

The medical evidence was that the Claimant had suffered an exacerbation of a psychiatric illness in the form of anxiety and depression but that he condition had fallen short of a recognised personality disorder.

The Claimant’s claim was for pain and suffering caused by the whiplash injury.

The fact that the pain and suffering had been heightened by a personality disorder did not change the nature of the pain and suffering.

The Claimant had been more susceptible to pain. This however was no more than a typical egg shell skull case. The claim was not for psychiatric injury. If it had been, medical evidence would have been required to prove that injury. Whilst the Judge had been right to find that the pain and suffering had been caused by the whiplash he had made a mistake in relying on the expert’s view that the Claimant had not been suffering from a recognised psychiatric disorder as a ground for reducing the award.

The award of £6,000.00 for general damages were to be increased to £20,000.00.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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