Our Tampa attorneys specialize in helping victims of chronic work-related injuries obtain workers’ compensation & disability benefits in difficult cases
Not all workplace accidents happen with a bang or a shout.
Some of the most devastating and debilitating work-related injuries creep up silently after years of repetitive motion or a single event. Such chronic injuries can lead to relentless suffering and long-term medical care.
Some examples of common types of chronic pain related to workplace injuries include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Chronic lower back pain
- Joint pain
Living with chronic pain can cause a number of secondary health issues to arise such as anxiety, depression, loss of sleep, irritability and other stressors. Severe chronic pain can even be debilitating, especially the occupational illness known as CRPS or RSD. Unfortunately, these types of cases are often highly complex and difficult to prove – a fact that workers’ compensation insurance companies and social security workers know they can use to their benefit by shortchanging your settlement.
At Lorenzo & Lorenzo, we have the background, experience and skill needed to handle these complex cases and ensure you win the compensation you deserve from negligent parties or social security.
Have you suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Or do you know someone who has?
Schedule your free consultation at our Tampa law office if you believe it to be connected to your work environment or a past work injury.
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What is CRPS?
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare chronic pain syndrome that gets worse over time. CRPS is typically linked to a previous injury or trauma and symptoms include severe pain out of proportion to the original injury. It can also be accompanied by sensitivity, swelling, and changes in the skin. This condition is more common in women, but can also be found in men.
CRPS is categories into two “types.” Type I, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or Sudeck’s atrophy, occurs when a nerve lesion is not visibly present. Type II CRPS, also called causalgia, is when there is an obvious nerve lesion. The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in the same way.
Both types of CRPS can vary in severity and by symptoms, which can include:
- Burning sensations
- Stabbing feeling
- Grinding sensations
- Moving or touching the limb is often intolerable
- Muscle spasms
- Local swelling
- Extreme sensitivity to things such as wind and water, touch and vibrations
- Abnormally increased sweating
- Softening and thinning of bones
- Changes in skin temperature (usually hot but sometimes cold) and color (bright red or a reddish violet)
- Joint tenderness or stiffness
- Changes in nail and hair growth and/or restricted or painful movement
While the exact cause of CRPS is unknown, it is believed to be connected to the body’s nervous system. Studies show that 2-5% of those with peripheral nerve injury and 13-70 percent of those with hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body) will develop CRPS.
Possible treatment options for CRPS typically involve the use of corticosteroids, anesthetic injections, physical therapy, surgical intervention and antidepressants.
Increase of CRPS, RSD & Chronic Injury in Social Security Disability Claims
CRPS, RSD, nerve damage and other chronic pain illnesses are often complex cases since the cause of many of these diseases are unknown. Social security and workers’ compensation insurance companies frequently deny these claims because it can be very difficult to trace chronic pain back to an original work-related injury.
Although these types of work injury cases are complex, they can still be won with the right representation. In fact, according to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, out of 56 cases in Florida involving a diagnosis or misdiagnosis of RSD or CRPS, over half resulted in a substantial verdict or settlement for the plaintiff.
There have indeed been a number of notable cases throughout the U.S. involving CRPS and chronic pain that have ended in a successful verdict for the plaintiff:
- In 2016, a $10 million verdict was awarded to an injured woman who suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in both her legs and feet after being struck in the right calf by a hand-truck carrying around 350 lbs. of milk cartons.
- In 2014, a journeyman carpenter who suffered stage III CRPS-II (causalgia) after a drill bit punctured his hand won $5.7 million for his injuries.
- In 2010, a New Jersey jury awarded $3 million to a woman who developed CRPS after she was involved in a minor fender bender.
RSD, CRPS & Your Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration recognizes how chronic pain can impact an individual’s ability to work.
According to the SSA:
“Chronic pain and many of the medications prescribed to treat it may affect an individual’s ability to maintain attention and concentration, as well as adversely affect his or her cognition, mood, and behavior, and may even reduce motor reaction times. These factors can interfere with an individual’s ability to sustain work activity over time, or preclude sustained work activity altogether.”
(Read Social Security Ruling 03-2p to learn more about what the SSA says about CRPS, RSD and chronic pain.)
However, being diagnosed with RSD or CRPS doesn’t automatically guarantee you disability benefits. In order to qualify, the chronic pain associated with this illness must be present for at least 12 months or more. In addition, you must be able to prove that your chronic pain prevents you from working.
For this reason, finding in experienced work injury attorney is key.
Our Florida work injury lawyers can help you navigate these highly complex cases by handling the confusing legal paperwork, guidelines and negotiate with insurers, your employer or social security.
Hire an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
When seeking help from a lawyer for your workers’ compensation or RSD SSI case, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney with previous experience in such cases. These cases are highly unusual and complex. A work injury lawyer who is familiar with CRPS will make sure the people who ultimately decide your case know all about the disease and how it keeps you from being able to work.
At Lorenzo and Lorenzo, we specialize in showing when compensation is owed by tracing chronic pain back to its original source – whether it’s from an accident in the workplace or elsewhere. We can help you obtain a detailed opinion from your treating doctor about your CRPS or RSD diagnosis as well as file an RFC form which shows your limitations in your ability to work.
If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic pain that you believe to be caused by a past or current work-related injury, schedule a free consultation with our Tampa personal injury law firm today.