RSD / CRPS Lawsuits in New Jersey
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – also known as Reflex sympathetic Dystrophy, or RSD, – is a chronic pain condition that sometimes develops after an injury or surgery. RSD/CRPS symptoms can be excruciatingly painful, often debilitating the sufferer and dramatically reducing their quality of life. It can reduce one’s ability to work, enjoy recreation, move around, and rest peacefully.
Because CRPS is sometimes caused by an injury, it is frequently the subject of personal injury lawsuits, and CRPS lawsuits are relatively common in the courts.
What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?
While the condition is still sometimes referred to by some as RSD or Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy, that name is generally considered outdated. Contemporary medical literature refers to the condition as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (and that’s what we’ll be calling it throughout the rest of this article.)
CRPS is a chronic condition that may or may not improve over time. It causes significant pain, usually in the limbs but occasionally in the abdomen, face, chest, and other areas.
What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
While the exact medical cause of CRPS remains unknown, there are a number of events associated with the onset of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. They include:
- Physical trauma: Most cases arise after the sufferer endures a significant trauma to the affected area (usually an arm or leg). The predominant medical theory is that the trauma causes damage to the nerve fibers. The type of trauma that triggers the event can include a bone break, muscle sprain, or muscle strain.
- Surgical errors: Major or minor mistakes made by surgeons can damage nerves and cause the pain associated with CRPS.
- Minor injuries: Burns, cuts, and other minor injuries have been known to cause long-lasting CRPS symptoms.
- Casting: The restricted blood flow caused by putting a limb in a cast might trigger the symptoms of CRPS. The severe pain associated with the Syndrome sometimes fades over time as the body’s nervous system returns to normal function.
- Cardiovascular events: While rare, cardiovascular events can cause the nerve damage that leads to CRPS or RPD symptoms.
What are the Two Types of CRPS?
There are two main types of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome:
Type I: Type 1 CRPS is the most common type of CRPS, with 90% of sufferers falling into this category. Most CRPS-related claims also fall into this category. Anyone who’s symptoms were preceded by a significant tissue injury is placed in this type, as are those whose symptoms are of unknown origin.
Type II: Type 2 CRPS, previously known as causalgia, captures those cases preceded by a significant injury to the sufferer’s nerves. Many people suffering from Type 2 CRPS have significant difficulty with muscle weakness and atrophy, or even have trouble consciously controlling the muscles responsible for walking and talking.
Common Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
While Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can cause a wide variety of symptoms and effects, patients typically report one or more of the following:
Acute pain: Unsurprisingly (give the name of the syndrome), significant pain is the most common symptom reported by sufferers of CRPS. The exact kind of pain can differ between patients, with some people reporting a constant ache and others reporting spontaneous, acute onsets of severe pain. Some people describe their pain as consisting of a “pins and needles” sensation, while others report a burning, stabbing, or throbbing feeling. Over time, the pain might spread from a small, localized spot to include an entire limb or area of the body.
Pain after activity: Many sufferers of CRPS report feeling unusually severe pain in the affected area after periods of prolonged or intense activity. Others indicate that they can experience this pain even after relatively mild periods of exertion. Hyperalgesia, in which people suffer experiences severe pain after a mild stimulus, or allodynia, which is severe pain after light contact with the affected area, are also reported.
Skin texture, temperature, and color changes: Some sufferers of CRPS experience changes to their skin’s texture, temperature, and color in the affected area. It is thought that this is caused by changes to blood flow and the reduced circulation of oxygen in the limb or body part.
Joint stiffness: Many people with CRPS experience stiffness in the joints in the affected area.
Changes to nail and hair growth: Some people notice that their hair or nails will stop growing on the affected limb, or that there are pronounced changes in hair growth in the affected area.
Can You Sue Someone for Causing your CRPS / RSD?
Whether or not you can begin a successful Complex Regional Pain Syndrome lawsuit is a complicated question that only a properly qualified CRPS lawyer can answer for you. Basically, you need to establish that the defendant owed you what’s called a “duty of care,” that they breached that duty of care, that you suffered damages, and that the defendant’s actions were a substantial cause of those damages.
CRPS attorneys are the only people properly suited to determining whether your particular circumstances are likely to give rise to a winning lawsuit. If you have any questions at all about your situation, you should seek out a consultation with a qualified CRPS attorney who can answer your questions.
What are the Elements of the CRPS Lawsuit?
As discussed in the previous section, a successful CRPS lawsuit consists of proving four elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- You suffered damages (harm)
- The damages you suffered were caused by the breach of the duty of care
In some cases, one or more of these elements might be easily proved. In others, it might be challenging. You should consult with a skilled Complex Regional Pain Syndrome lawyer to figure out if any or all of these conditions might be met in your particular case.
Why Should you Hire a CRPS / RSD Lawyer?
An experienced Complex Regional Pain Syndrome attorney can help you with every stage of a complicated CRPS lawsuit. They can assist you in the investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to your pain, help determine the monetary worth of the damages and harm you’ve suffered and identify the parties responsible for your injuries (and find out if they’re able to pay for any judgments awarded in your favor).
Skilled attorneys can also line up the necessary medical experts for your trial and negotiate with the defendant’s counsel to secure a settlement for you without the need to go to a contested trial.
Mazie Slater CRPS Lawyers Are Here for You
At Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, we have extensive experience in litigating CRPS/RSD lawsuits for our clients in personal injury cases.
We helped a client – a highly paid bond broker here in New Jersey- secure a $14.7 million settlement for an accident in which he was struck by a vehicle in a Mercedes-Benz dealership parking lot. The damages assisted our client with his direct economic losses suffered as a result of his inability to work in his lucrative job and to pay for ongoing care necessitated by the injury.
Similarly, we helped a woman who was injured on a property owned by the Lowe’s chain of stores secure a $4 million settlement after she tripped on a power cord and developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The damage award will go towards compensating our client for the physical and psychological harms caused directly by the fall.
At the firm, we provide sufferers of CRPS with free consultations to help you determine whether the circumstances of your case give rise to an actionable claim. We also work on a contingency basis, which means that we pay ourselves out of a portion of any damages you’re ultimately awarded. If you don’t receive damages, you don’t pay any fees.
If you have any questions at all about your CRPS case – or any other injury you’ve suffered through someone else’s negligence – please give us a no-obligation and completely free call at 973.228.9898. We’ll be glad to walk you through your options and determine the best way for you to move forward.