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Advice on Seeking Compensation for Functional Neurological Disorder

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A diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder can be life-changing for the person concerned and their immediate family. Untreated, the symptoms may get progressively worse causing debilitating symptoms that impact the ability to work, enjoy life, and perform usual activities. If you think you may have developed Functional Neurological Disorder, and you believe it may have been caused by one or more incidents in the workplace, it is possible you will have the grounds to bring a claim for compensation against your employer.

The following frequently asked questions on this topic may help you to better understand this condition, its causes, and the requirements for bringing a compensation claim.

What is Functional Neurological Disorder?

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is a condition in which a person experiences neurological symptoms such as weakness, tremors, seizures, numbness, or even blindness, that cannot be explained by a neurological disease or another medical condition. Experts believe the symptoms arise from alterations in how the brain functions, due to psychological or environmental stressors.

FND is a complex disorder that can have a wide range of symptoms and severity. It is often associated with a history of psychological trauma or stress, but other factors such as physical illness, chronic pain, or medication side effects can also play a role in its development. Diagnosis is often challenging and requires ruling out other medical conditions that could explain the symptoms.

Treatment for FND typically involves a multidisciplinary approach, including therapy to address underlying psychological factors, physical rehabilitation to manage symptoms, and education to promote self-management and reduce reliance on medical interventions. While FND can be challenging to live with, most people with the disorder can experience significant improvement with appropriate treatment and support.

Can Functional Neurological Disorder occur due to events in the workplace? If so, what sort of events cause it?

Yes, it is possible for an employee to develop FND due to psychological or physical stressors in the work environment. FND can be triggered or exacerbated by factors such as work-related stress, exposure to toxic substances, physical trauma or injury, and prolonged or repetitive physical exertion.

Work-related stress is one of the more common causes of FND. If an employee experiences multiple stressful incidents in their line of work, and a diagnosis of FND by a medical professional follows, it is highly likely that the work environment will be the chief cause of the condition.

Is it possible to claim compensation from an employer following a diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder?

It is possible to pursue a compensation claim against an employer following a diagnosis of FND, but the process can be complex and highly challenging. In order to bring a claim, the claimant will need to prove that their condition was caused or worsened by their work environment and that their employer was negligent in some way.

The first step to bringing a claim will involve consulting with a specialist personal injury solicitor with experience in bringing these types of cases. A qualified solicitor can help the person with FND to gather evidence in support of their claim, such as medical records, witness statements, and documentation of workplace conditions, as well as testimonies from experts regarding their view on incidents that may have contributed to the condition.

In some cases, the employer’s insurance company may be willing to negotiate a settlement with the employee, which could provide financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to the FND diagnosis. However, it is also possible that the case may need to go to court in order to resolve the issue.

How can a claimant prove that their employer caused their Functional Neurological Disorder?

Proving that an employer acted negligently, and caused the FND of an employee through their negligence, can be a very challenging process due to the complexity of the disorder and the fact that it can have multiple causes. However, there are several steps a claimant can take to build a strong case. This includes the following.

  • Compiling medical evidence: A claimant would need to provide medical evidence that links their FND diagnosis to their work environment or job-related duties. This would typically involve documentation from a medical professional who specialises in FND. They would need to provide a clear explanation of how the condition was caused or worsened by work-related factors.
  • Compiling other expert witness testimony: it may also be necessary to obtain expert witness testimony from a range of other medical experts and practitioners such as occupational health specialists or neurologists.
  • Compiling witness statements: evidence by way of witness statements from co-workers and supervisors can play a vital role in building the case that the work environment and its conditions caused the development of FND.
  • Reviewing workplace documentation: with a view to finding evidence that the employer was negligent in some way, such as failing to provide a safe work environment, failing to provide appropriate training or equipment, or failing to provide adequate breaks or rest periods.
  • Providing documentation from comparable cases: a solicitor may be able to provide evidence from similar cases that have been successfully litigated, in which other claimants have been able to prove that their FND was caused by workplace conditions or job-related duties.

How can a lawyer help a claimant to bring a compensation claim for Functional Neurological Disorder?

Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer will play a critical role in helping a claimant bring a compensation claim for FND caused by workplace conditions. Here are some ways in which a lawyer can assist a claimant:

  • Providing expert legal advice – A lawyer can provide legal advice to the claimant about their rights and options, as well as the legal process for bringing a compensation claim. They can explain the legal requirements for proving negligence and causation and can advise on the potential risks and benefits of pursuing a claim.
  • Gathering the evidence – A lawyer can help the claimant to gather the necessary evidence to support their claim, such as medical records, witness statements, and workplace documentation. They can also engage expert witnesses who can provide testimony on the cause of the FND and the impact of workplace conditions on the claimant’s health.
  • Representation duties – A lawyer can represent the claimant in negotiations with the employer or their insurance company, and can advocate for their interests in court if necessary. They can also provide support and guidance throughout the legal process, and can help the claimant to understand their legal rights and obligations.
  • Settlement negotiation – A lawyer can negotiate a settlement with the employer’s insurance company on behalf of the claimant. Settlements can provide financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to the FND diagnosis. They can also ensure that the claimant doesn’t settle too early and gets a level of compensation that meets the guidelines for the injuries sustained.
  • Litigation proceedings – If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawyer can represent the claimant in litigation. This can involve filing a lawsuit and presenting evidence in court to prove the employer’s negligence and the impact of the workplace conditions on the claimant’s health.

Need to speak to a workplace injury lawyer?

If you have recently been diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder and you believe the cause to be a workplace incident or multiple workplace stressors, our legal team would be happy to assist you with any questions you might have about your case. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email info@mccarthy.ie and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels. John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.

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