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November is CRPS Awareness month this image shows an orange ribbon (used for CRPS awareness) pinned onto a lady's top

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome compensation claims

For Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness month, Dr Ian McMurdie and Jonathan Clement look at the symptoms and types of CRPS, and whether you can claim compensation for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic and rare neurological condition that causes severe and prolonged pain. It typically affects one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands, or feet) but can spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, there is no cure for CRPS, but a combination of treatments can be used to help lessen pain and manage the symptoms. 

If you have suffered an accident that wasn’t your fault and have a diagnosis of CRPS, you may be entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation. Our panel of expert lawyers at Major Trauma Group are highly experienced in assisting clients with all types of personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis.  

What are the symptoms of CRPS?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can present with a wide range of symptoms, and the severity and combination of these symptoms can vary from person to person. The main symptom is chronic and severe pain. Listed below are some of the common symptoms associated with CRPS:

  • Continuous and severe pain: The most prominent and consistent symptom of CRPS is burning and intense pain, which is typically described as throbbing, stabbing, or shooting. This pain can be out of proportion to the initial injury or trigger and may become progressively worse over time.
  • Changes in skin temperature and colour: The affected limb may become noticeably warmer or cooler than the other limb. Skin colour changes, such as mottling, redness, or bluish discolouration, can also occur.
  • Sensitivity to touch: People with CRPS often experience heightened sensitivity to touch. Even light touch or gentle pressure can be painful.
  • Swelling and oedema: Swelling and oedema (fluid retention) may develop in the affected limb, leading to a feeling of tightness and discomfort.
  • Skin texture changes: The skin on the affected limb may undergo various changes, including thinning, shiny appearance, or excessive sweating in the affected area.
  • Joint stiffness and muscle weakness: CRPS can lead to stiffness and limited range of motion in the affected limb. Muscle weakness and atrophy (shrinkage) can also occur due to disuse.
  • Abnormal hair and nail growth: Changes in hair and nail growth patterns may be observed. Hair may grow faster or slower, and nails might become cracked, grooved or brittle.
  • Tremors or muscle spasms: In some cases, individuals with CRPS may experience muscle tremors or spasms in the affected limb.
  • Autonomic dysfunction: Dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system can result in symptoms such as excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), changes in blood flow, and temperature regulation problems.
  • Psychological symptoms: The chronic pain and disability associated with CRPS can take a toll on a person’s mental health. Anxiety, depression, and mood changes are common psychological symptoms.

It’s important to note that CRPS symptoms can spread to other parts of the body, although the initial injury or trigger may have affected only one limb. 

Diagnosis of CRPS is primarily based on clinical evaluation and a careful assessment of symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. There are no specific diagnostic tests for CRPS, but imaging studies, such as bone scans, and nerve conduction tests may be used to support the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

November is CRPS Awareness month this image shows an orange ribbon (used for CRPS awareness) pinned onto a lady's top
November is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness month
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Stages and types

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is often classified into two main types: CRPS Type I and CRPS Type II. Additionally, the condition can progress through several stages. 

Types of CRPS:

  1. CRPS Type I (formerly Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD): This type of CRPS occurs when there is no confirmed nerve injury or identifiable nerve damage that can explain the symptoms. It is often associated with an initial trauma or injury that may not involve direct nerve injury. CRPS Type I is the more common of the two types.
  2. CRPS Type II (formerly Causalgia): CRPS Type II is characterised by the presence of a confirmed nerve injury or damage that can be identified as the cause of the symptoms. This type is less common but tends to have more predictable symptoms due to the known nerve injury.

CRPS is often described in terms of three stages, although not all individuals will progress through all of these stages, and the progression can vary from person to person. 

Stage 1 usually lasts for a few weeks to a few months. It is marked by severe burning and intense pain, changes in skin temperature, and increased sensitivity to touch. Swelling and stiffness may also be present. Stage 2 may last for several months, the pain becomes more intense, and the skin changes become more noticeable. Stage 3 is the chronic stage of CRPS, which may last for years or even be permanent. The pain may become more widespread and intense, affecting the entire limb or even spreading to other parts of the body. 

It’s important to understand that not all individuals will experience a clear progression through these stages, and some may remain in one stage for an extended period. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial to prevent the progression of CRPS and improve outcomes.

What accidents can cause CRPS?

CRPS can be caused by any traumatic injury, including complex fractures, burn injuries, nerve injuries and even surgical procedures. As such, complex regional pain syndrome compensation claims are typically made after the following types of accidents:

If you have been diagnosed and are suffering from CRPS, no matter the type of accident you have experienced, you may be entitled to make a complex regional pain syndrome compensation claim. 

Our member firms are experienced in CRPS claims and always advocate for our client’s best interests. We handle your case with care, compassion, and expertise. Please get in touch today to discuss your case with one of our legal professionals. 

Treatment for CRPS

The treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome typically involves a multidisciplinary approach that aims to address the various aspects of the condition, including pain management, physical rehabilitation, psychological support, and improving overall function. The specific treatment plan can vary from person to person based on the severity of their symptoms and individual needs. 

Major Trauma Group are passionate about the benefits of rehabilitation therapies, and for victims suffering from CRPS, physical rehabilitation can help to improve limb function, range of motion and strength, ultimately improving quality of life. 

Our lawyers can negotiate for access to rehabilitation therapies prior to your claim being finalised to ensure you have access to the best care as soon as possible, ultimately improving your chances of recovery and stopping the condition from progressing. 

Complex regional pain syndrome compensation claim amounts

A CRPS compensation claim is split into two categories: general damages and special damages.

General damages are awarded to compensate the victim for non-financial losses, such as their pain, suffering, and loss of amenity. 

Special damages are awarded to compensate the victim for any financial losses they have suffered as a result of their accident and subsequent injuries. These losses are typically easier to quantify as they are supported by receipts and other documentation. Examples of special damages include lost wages (a victim’s ability to work may be compromised due to their injuries), prescription costs and travel expenses.

Our lawyers can also advocate for our clients to receive interim payments prior to the claim being finalised to ensure they have the monetary funds to live comfortably and pay for any additional expenses, such as travelling to and from medical appointments. 

How can Major Trauma Group help with your complex regional pain syndrome compensation?

If you have suffered an accident and are subsequently suffering from CPRS, then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. 

The claims process for complex regional pain syndrome compensation can be difficult to navigate and requires expertise from a legal professional in personal injury law. The member firms at Major Trauma Group are experienced in CRPS claims and are confident in assisting clients throughout the process. 

If you would like more information on our services or to discuss your potential complex regional pain syndrome compensation claim, please get in touch using the form below for a free initial consultation with one of the lawyers on our panel. 

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