Sometimes a bumper-bashing can lead to more than just a whiplash injury – it can also have a profound psychological effect on the accident victim. This was discovered by Johannesburg resident Kiara Johannsen*, who recently received a R551 000 award from the Road Accident Fund thanks to the persistence of de Broglio Inc.
In May 2007, Kiara (now aged 31) was driving her car along Bowling Road in Wendywood and stopped at a red robot. Suddenly, another driver raced up behind her and crashed into the back of her vehicle at high speed.
The impact caused Kiara to suffer a whiplash injury, and she was incapacitated for three days following the accident.
Employed at a family business, much of her job description involves driving to consult with clients, administration and computer work. However, following the accident she complained of ongoing severe pain, stiffness and muscle spasms in her neck. She found it extremely difficult to attend to her work duties as well as she had previously, and was forced to take frequent breaks.
When investigating Kiara’s third-party accident claim, de Broglio’s medical and psychological experts found that her ongoing symptoms meant that she needed further corrective treatment and possibly even surgery, but also that her productivity and ability to do her work had declined by about 10%. Her physical depletion means that she may not attain the career goals she had originally envisaged.
Furthermore, the psychiatrist reported that apart from the physical trauma of the accident, it was also an emotionally traumatic event for Kiara, inflicting her with ongoing psychological difficulties such as tearfulness, despondency, irritability and fluctuations in concentration. He diagnosed her with chronic psychological adjustment difficulties, with an associated mild depression illness, and recommended that she undergo psychiatric treatment.
Despite the clear physical and mental trauma Kiara had suffered from the car accident, the Road Accident Fund initially offered Kiara below R100 000 in compensation.
De Broglio Inc’s team decided to run with the matter in the South Gauteng High Court and, despite the Fund subsequently upping its offer to an all-inclusive R149 000 (including future loss of income), following the testimony of Kiara and the medico-legal experts the judge saw fit to award her a total of R551 000.
Although the accident had a severe impact on her physical and mental wellbeing, now that her claim has been finalised Kiara can try to put that traumatic jolt to her system behind her, and move on with her life.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.