What to do if you have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome After a Car Accident

You were in an auto crash and suffered an injury –  a torn rotator cuff, for example. It was supposed to heal quickly after surgery.  But, the pain – it won’t stop!  It just burns and hurts for anyone to touch it.  What is going on? 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

You may have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. CRPS typically develops after an injury, a surgery, a stroke, or a heart attack. Sometimes called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD or RSDS), it is a chronic pain syndrome where you may feel severe burning pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, swelling, excessive sweating, and tissue discoloration.

Was Your CPRS Caused by an Automobile Wreck?

CRPS is thought to be caused by an injury to or an abnormality of the peripheral and central nervous systems. CRPS typically occurs as a result of a trauma or an injury. Many cases of CRPS occur after a forceful trauma to an arm or a leg. This can include a crushing injury or a fracture. If you suffered an injury to your leg, arm, or shoulder that won’t heal after surgery or has gotten worse, you may want to talk to your doctor about CRPS.

CRPS occurs in two types, with similar signs and symptoms, but different causes:

  • Type 1: Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), this type occurs after an illness or injury that didn't directly damage the nerves in your affected limb. About 90% of people with CRPS have type 1.
  • ​​Type 2: Once referred to as causalgia, this type has symptoms similar to those of type 1, but type 2 CRPS occurs after a distinct nerve injury.

Physical symptoms and pain from CRPS are debilitating. Usually, it is in one arm, leg, hand, foot, elbow, or knee, but sometimes can spread from its source and affect multiple limbs. The pain from CRPS is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury.

If you suffered an injury to your leg, arm, or shoulder that won’t heal after surgery or has gotten worse, and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you talk to an experienced CRPS attorney.

Signs and symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in your arm, leg, hand, or foot
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Swelling of the painful area
  • Changes in skin temperature — alternating between sweaty and cold
  • Changes in skin color, ranging from white and blotchy to red or blue
  • Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint stiffness, swelling, and damage
  • Muscle spasms, tremors, weakness, and loss (atrophy)
  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person. Pain, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperature, and hypersensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) usually occur first.

Over time, the affected limb can become cold and pale. It may undergo skin and nail changes as well as muscle spasms and tightening. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible.

What Legal Rights do You Have if Your Wreck Resulted in You Having CRPS?

When your pain is at its peak, you feel – helpless, hopeless, frustrated, and angry. You can no longer do your job, handle your family responsibilities, or even talk to your loved ones. 

To make matters worse – some don’t believe you.  This is not you and you were not this way before the crash damaged your nerves. You just want to be better and back to how you were before!

Your entire life is affected. The mental and emotional toll has hurt your relationships with family and friends.  You feel lonely and isolated. You are overwhelmed.

You want help!

If your CRPS results from an injury you sustained in an automobile wreck, there are some factors that must be considered to determine if you can recover any money for this disabling injury. Your CRPS personal injury attorney will work with your doctor to get a full understanding of your diagnosis. He will then use that information to fight the insurance company to make sure your settlement is fair and covers all your future medical needs.

How Much is Your CRPS Injury Worth?

Like all other personal injury cases, there is no set amount for a particular injury. A guide that the insurance companies often use is:

            Medical bills x 3 = Pain and suffering

But this is just a rough guide and not an indicator of what compensation you will receive. The amount of your settlement is going to be based on a number of different factors. The factors that led to you being injured, the seriousness of your injury, changes to your quality of life, and prognosis will all be taken into account.

Your CRPS personal injury lawyer will also talk to your doctors and specialists to assess the severity of your injury and what your medical needs will be in the future.  

Some of the Damages an Experienced CRPS Attorney Will Fight for Include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Future medical bills
  • Future lost wages

Don’t Take on the Insurance Company Alone! You Need an Experienced CRPS Lawyer

If you or a loved one is suffering from CRPS, don’t try and take on the case yourself. CRPS is not a common injury and is not fully understood.

The insurance companies are more worried about their bottom line than they are about your well-being. Complex regional pain syndrome is a serious illness that needs serious legal attention. You need an experienced CRPS lawyer who will listen to you and take your concerns seriously.

When you are injured, you don't just need a personal injury lawyer—you need a trustworthy advocate and confidant who will understand the physical pain and stress you are experiencing.

You need someone whose only interest is your best interest. Someone who will compassionately fight hard for you against the big bullies of the world – like insurance companies.

Call the disabling injury lawyer of Louisiana Disability Law at (985) 441-3448 to discuss the cause and other factors of your complex regional pain syndrome today!

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability, Personal Injury, and Divorce Attorney
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