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What is CRPS Diagnosis After Accident?

What is CRPS Diagnosis After Accident?

This Shaked Law Firm article touches on both the legal and medical sides of a CRPS (formerly RSD) diagnosis after an accident with injuries.

CRPS (formerly RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) affects every patient differently. Statistics show 90% of those with a CRPS diagnosis suffer from Type I. The remaining 10% of patients suffer from Type II. We always stress that those suffering a CRPS (formerly RSD) diagnosis should consult with a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. CRPS victims may have grounds for litigation when their diagnosis is a direct result of an accident. This can be an auto accident, a motorcycle accident, a workplace accident, or any other accident resulting from the negligence of another.

This Shaked Law Firm article touches on both the legal and medical sides of a CRPS diagnosis. At the end of this article, readers will find links to further reading on CRPS via the Shaked Law Firm Blog. This article provides insight into the painful, permanent symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

How do doctors determine a CRPS diagnosis?

According to medical professionals with extensive knowledge of disease expression, there isn’t a specific test confirms a diagnosis of CRPS (formerly RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). CRPS is a “diagnosis of exclusion”. Doctor’s refer to this form of diagnosing as a “clinical diagnosis”. A clinical diagnosis is useful when there is no standard medical test available to determine what condition a patient suffers from. Further along in this article, you’ll learn why diagnostic imaging is not always successful in diagnosing CRPS.

Why is a CRPS diagnosis a “diagnosis of exclusion”?

There are several other pain conditions that require diagnoses of exclusion. Fibromyalgia, for instance, is a pain condition that receives clinical diagnosis when a physician examines a patient’s “pressure points”. The pain then receives a “score”. This test is not standard. That’s because every patient feels pain differently. When there is no clear cause for the pain, other illnesses such as MS need ruling out. Confusing one illness for another may be Misdiagnosis in certain cases.

When there is no injury, doctors can diagnose CRPS by taking a thorough look at a patient’s medical history. Doctors must take the area where painful symptoms occur into account. CRPS is largely a process of the nervous system. When there is no visible reason for the pain, but it persists, a diagnosis of CRPS Type I is relevant. When a patient has a clear injury to the nerves (after accident with injuries), a diagnosis of CRPS Type II (Causalgia) is relevant.

What are some causes of CRPS (Causalgia)?

CRPS (formerly RSD) has a number of causes. “Causalgia”, as doctors say, is CRPS occurring as a direct result of “something” happening. However, what “something” can cause such permanent pain and suffering? Let’s look at a few of the most common occurrences of CRPS below.

  • Slip and fall accidents. The link between falling and CRPS is due to the nature of nerve damage during a fall. After damaging a nerve, the extremity with the injury may never heal correctly, resulting in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This type of CRPS is Type II, where the nerves receive direct impact during an accident.
  • Limb strains and sprains. The link between CRPS and limb sprains, specifically ankle sprains, is difficult to deduce. Disuse of the limb and/or splinting of the foot and ankle during recovery may lead to formal CRPS diagnosis. This is the most common occurrence of the disease after a limb sprain or strain. This type of injury can be Type I, because the nerves of the foot and ankle may be in tact. If they are not, then Type II (Causalgia) applies.
  • Blood draws. Errors occur due to the carelessness of a phlebotomist, a medical professional with the special licensing to draw blood. Sometimes the error is the result of a registered nurse who fails to use proper care when performing the blood draw. Thus, any mistake that occurs during a blood test puts patient safety at risk. In cases where nerve damage is outcome of a blood draw error, CRPS Type II can occur.

Is there diagnostic imaging for CRPS patients?

Diagnostic imaging is always necessary after an accident where a victim sustains injuries. However, MRI is doubly necessary in specific cases to confirm clinical diagnosis of CRPS. This is due to bone re-absorption becoming a co-morbidity (often found to exist in) of CRPS. Bone re-absorption is a condition in which cells break down bones. During the process, cells release excess calcium into the bloodstream. However, doctors cannot rely solely on this symptom, as this finding is relevant in other illnesses too.

#ShakedMedFact: CRPS is not normally something doctors can simply point to on diagnostic imaging. Its symptoms usually occur due to extreme pain in areas where nerves are prevalent.

What happens on the legal side, after patients receive a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome diagnosis?

Continue reading to gain better understanding of the legal side of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

When do CRPS patients need a lawyer?

When a lawyer agrees to take a client’s CRPS case, it’s usually because the case is a result of Causalgia. There is a reason for the CRPS diagnosis. The lawyer accepts the case,. but what happens next? The next step that follows is a mountain of medical documentation and “Discovery”. This is why it’s so important to obtain a law firm with experience in these “complex” cases.

Those who sustain injuries in accidents in conjunction with CRPS do not usually have a promising outlook, medically. Auto accident cases of CRPS tend to have even less favorable prognoses. Thus, these are severe cases, and the ones that require consultation with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.

How do I know if a law firm can handle a difficult CRPS case?

It’s important for victims with a CRPS diagnosis to know they should never suffer in silence. A Personal Injury lawyer with experience in CRPS cases is there to help them. A lawyer with Board Certification can obtain the compensation victims deserve. Compensation allows victims of Medical Malpractice or negligence the financial stability to afford proper pain management.

A lawyer with Board Certification understands their client’s medical situation as well as they understand the legal side. Thus, they will have compassion for their client’s pain. The best Personal Injury lawyers maintain upstanding morals while recovering the maximum compensation. Whether a case goes to trial or an offer of a settlement is sufficient, law firms with experience take pride in preparing a successful case.

Further reading

See below for further reading from our Shaked Law Firm Blog on articles relating to the link between CRPS and injuries:

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