Complex Injuries and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome – should my lawyer also be a Doctor?

The obvious and simple answer to the question is ‘no‘, but there are often cases where your solicitor needs to have sufficient experience and expertise to be able to recognise symptoms that may be indicative of more complicated (and potentially more serious) injuries than first thought or diagnosed.


It is easy to assume that all accident related injuries are straightforward, easily identifiable and simple to deal with medically and legally.


There is also a tendency for inexperienced lawyers to accept medical records and medical reports at face value, without undertaking an in depth analysis of the position and, if appropriate, challenging the views of the medical experts to ensure that you receive both the treatment and compensation you need and deserve.


It is therefore vital that your lawyer has both the knowledge and experience to recognise potential issues and ensure that the right medical evidence is obtained at the right time.


All of our senior lawyers and solicitors here at Smith Jones Solicitors have considerable expertise and experience of dealing with cases involving complex injuries, such as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and are specifically trained to take a full and detailed history from the Claimant, review their medical records in detail and, if necessary, to challenge the medical experts so as to ensure that the correct treatment is obtained and the best possible recovery is made.


Complex Conditions


There are a number of complex conditions caused by accidents which are difficult for those less experienced to spot. One such condition is Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This is notoriously difficult to diagnose and can have far reaching consequences if not diagnosed and treated properly.

This can also impact significantly upon the value of a claim.


By way of example, a Client of our firm sustained what appeared to be a relatively minor injury to her wrist in a most innocuous work related accident.


Her X rays disclosed no fracture and the orthopaedic evidence obtained suggested she had sustained a relatively minor soft tissue injury, from which a recovery should have been made within a matter of two to three months.


This was not the case however and she complained of significant on going pain and discomfort in the injured wrist. This severely restricted her ability to work, to the extent that she had to give up her full time job and take a part time position. The result of this was a significant loss of income.


The Client saw her GP on numerous occasions, was seen at the fracture clinic at the hospital on numerous occasions and had various tests done, all of which were inconclusive.


None of the Doctors or Consultants seen by the Client, were able to provide her with any indication as to why she was continuing to suffer to the extent that she was. Ultimately, they implied that the problems were perhaps in her ‘head’ and indicated that medically nothing further could be done.


Clients Correct Diagnosis


A detailed review of the Claimant’s medical records and relevant events both before and after the accident, suggested to us that she was perhaps suffering from Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and arrangements were made for her to be seen by a Pain Management Consultant. He indicated immediately that in his opinion she was suffering from CRPS and required urgent and specialised treatment.


On the strength of being diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, the Client was able to secure a referral to a Pain Management Clinic. There, she underwent significant specialised treatment over the course of a 12 month period, this resulted in a much better outcome for her than would have otherwise been the case.


Unfortunately, whilst the treatment was successful in part the Client was left with some degree of permanent disability.


Had the initial medical evidence been accepted at face value, then the claim would have been worth no more than £5,000. However, with the proper diagnosis and prognosis, the value of the claim increased to in excess of £200,000.


The purpose of that additional compensation was to try and compensate the Client for her past and future loss of earnings, and to compensate her for the increasing amounts of care and assistance likely to be required in the future.


The moral of the story is to ensure that you do not necessarily accept at face value the medical evidence presented and that you instruct a Solicitor with sufficient knowledge, experience and expertise. Such a solicitor will be able to identify issues, and will have the ability and strength of character to be in a position to challenge medical evidence if it appears to be inaccurate. By doing this, they will be able to obtain the best possible outcome for you in connection with your claim.


Inexperience can be very costly, this is the reason why all of our high value and complex cases are dealt with by solicitors who have an average of more than 25 years of experience in dealing with such matters.


It’s your future that is at stake and you should be properly protected.


Contact us now if you have a question regarding a complex injury claim. If you’re not sure whether you can make a claim, then phone our free helpline on 0800 195 95 90 and our friendly team will assist you.