Disc degeneration proved trauma induced but selfie-inflicted damage sinks eco loss claim

Goodfellow v Clarke [2015] QDC 193

A Rockhampton compensation claimant has convinced a court his degenerative disc condition – commonly thought to be age related – was as a direct result of a multi vehicle collision on the Bruce Highway near Calliope in which he was a passenger.

Council plant operator Michael Goodfellow was ambulanced to the Gladstone Hospital but the X-ray views appeared normal as did those repeated 16 months later.

However on MRI undertaken at an even later date, a minor disc bulge at C3/4 with “mild desication of the intervertebral disc” was reported.

In the subsequent injury claim, CTP insurers Suncorp and Allianz asserted – via medical specialist John Fraser – that these findings were indications of “degenerative change” notwithstanding Fraser conceded  the prospect of a male in his early 20s developing such a condition was “virtually none”.

Fellow orthopedist Cameron Cook – considering the localised nature of the injury, the patient’s age and the fact that it was at C3/4 rather than C6/7 as is more commonly the case for natural cervical degereration – contended the symptoms to be more likely “post-traumatic than age-related”.

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Reproduced with the permission of Carter Capner Law

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