James said that for months afterwards the woman suffered with breathing difficulties and a bad cough. She was also struggling to sleep due to extreme anxiety, and suffered from panic attacks and flashbacks.
"My client displayed classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but thankfully was astute enough to immediately seek medical attention," James said. "She had nightmares whenever she managed to sleep, and found herself constantly reliving the event. She would regularly wake up in a panicked state, choking. When she began having suicidal thoughts she took herself straight to her local hospital for help."
James said that the fire not only destroyed his client's material possessions, but also led to a breakdown in her personal situation. "She lost her home in the fire, and when she was allowed to return to the flat she found that most of her possessions had been destroyed or were very seriously damaged," he said. "The psychological trauma then led to the breakdown of her relationship with her partner, profoundly affected her relationship with her son, and damaged her previously strong career prospects."
Although until that time she had been very successful in her career, the woman has been unable to secure a job since the incident due to her erratic behaviour and poor concentration levels, and has been certified as not fit to work by a Consultant Psychiatrist."This was clearly a traumatic incident for my client, one which she was frankly lucky to survive," said James. "The defendant insurers admitted liability within months of the fire, but contested much of the claim for a further two years. This woman not only lost her home, but she lost many of her possessions, suffered a substantial loss of earnings, incurred hotel bills, storage bills and significant medical expenses," he said. "But the defendant disputed many of the issues - even pressing for an inspection of the damaged items, which my client was simply not well enough to do. We instead instructed an independent loss adjuster to prepare an inventory of the damaged items on her behalf and issued proceedings."