How to claim compensation for chronic pain if caused by injury or accident
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain (CP) can be explained as pain that has persisted for longer than 12 weeks, or beyond what would be expected to have been a normal healing period. This can be long term pain which can arise from a variety of different sources. One of the most common triggers of CP disorders is an injury which could be sustained in an accident. The pain will linger after the initial physical damage has healed, with no obvious cause.
Sometimes, the symptoms of CP do not arise until a long time after the initial injury has occurred.
CP conditions can take many forms. There may be physical changes to the body which have caused or contributed to the development of chronic pain symptoms. Equally, there may be no detectable physical changes at all.
Psychological factors are thought to play a part in the vast majority of chronic pain symptoms. In some instances, they might be considered the sole source of the CP.
Types of chronic pain conditions
- Chronic Pain Syndrome – This is a general term for a condition where there is long lasting pain which has been linked with further complications. Such complications are depression, anxiety, tiredness and other physical or emotional reactions. These complications may then increase sensations of pain.
- Fibromyalgia – Symptoms can vary but there is usually widespread pain and ongoing, inexplicable fatigue which are common elements. Other symptoms include lower back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, anxiety, depression and fatigue.
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) – This is one of the more easily identifiable CP conditions, although it is very rare. The disorder usually affects arms or legs, causing localised effects such as swelling or discolouration of the skin (usually red or purple blotches), burning pain, increased sensitivity to touch, hot or cold sensations and changes to hair or nail growth in the affected area. The root of CRPS is believed to be in the central nervous system. The symptoms of increased sensitivity are thought to develop from a dysfunction of the body’s system for inhibiting pain signals.
- Somatoform Disorders – This term actually covers a range of CP conditions. The unifying element is an experience of physical pain by the sufferer without any obvious physical evidence to explain its cause. Unlike some other kinds of chronic pain disorder, Somatoform Disorders are ones in which the ongoing CP is attributed to an entirely psychological source.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – M.E.)- As the name suggests, is long-term condition characterised by extreme fatigue. However, it can also include many other symptoms, such as muscle and joint pain, headaches, nausea, dizziness, difficulties focusing, thinking or remembering. The cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not known; theories suggest it may be triggered by a number of causes including psychological stress and viral infections.
How can I claim compensation for chronic pain (CP)?
If you’re looking to claim compensation for CP, you will need to be able to prove that an accident or injury caused by another’s negligence was to blame for your CP symptoms.
The value of your CP compensation claim will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the long-term effects it has had on your working capabilities and need for care. When making a claim, medical experts will be instructed to assess your symptoms and advise on the effects your accident has had, and will continue to have on your life.
If you have an enquiry regarding a chronic pain condition which has been caused by an accident or injury please call our experienced team of solicitors on 01202 525333 or email Emily.Ferris@ellisjones.co.uk for a free specialist consultation.