Chronic Pain Compensation

Think You Might Have An Injury Causing Chronic Pain?

If you're suffering from life altering pain that is chronic and persistent following an injury – more importantly - an injury that was not your fault, you could have the basis for a compensation claim.

Chronic Pain Injury - X Ray Personal Injury Claims Evidence

With over 150 years of experience, our award winning, expert team of Personal Injury specialists can offer you the straightforward and jargon free advice that you need to build your case.

With transparent, easy-to-understand pricing and a range of options to suit every budget, you can rest assured that you will be kept in the loop at every step of your claim.

If you think an injury is causing you long-term, chronic pain all you need to do is contact us: just call 0808 129 3320, or click here to fill out our enquiry form and we will call you back.

Measuring Your Pain

On a very basic level, when you are injured or if something is wrong, your body will send a pain signal to let you know.

Of course, there are different levels of pain related to the injury that your body has endured.

  • Acute pain is a 'normal' reaction; a signal is to your brain to indicate something is wrong and is the trigger to our brain to highlight the source of your pain.
  • Chronic pain is defined as prolonged pain which has persisted beyond an initial 3 month phase. Chronic pain can last for months, even years. In some unfortunate cases, chronic pain can be permanent and disabling.

Is It Chronic Pain?

If you have pain symptoms that have persisted for 3 months at a severe level that your doctor has predicted for your type of injury - you may be suffering from chronic pain.

If you are concerned about pain, you should consult your GP in the first instance.

If there is nothing more that your doctor can do to help you, they may well refer you to your local Pain Clinic for further management of your pain. Investigations into the nature of your injury should be done to rule out any other conditions which might be causing your pain.

What are the Common Types of Pain?

  • Musculoskeletal pain
    • chronic back pain
    • chronic neck pain
    • chronic shoulder pain
    • migraine/chronic and persisting headaches
    • chronic hip pain/hip bursitis
    • chronic knee pain
    • chronic ankle pain
    • chronic foot pain - plantar fasciitis
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – also sometimes referred to as RSD Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Arthritis (either caused or accelerated by the injury)
  • Pain Syndrome

What Medical Terms Should I Look Out For?

  • Nerve Damage
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Musculoskeletal Pain
  • "Unexplained" Pain
  • No "organic" cause for the pain
  • Pain syndrome
  • Psychological overlay
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Allodynia (painful reaction to a stimulus that would not normally be expected to cause pain)
  • Referral to a pain clinic
  • Recommendation for referral to a pain management programme

Why Hasn't A Cause For My Pain Been Found?

We often see clients that have initially been reviewed by a medical expert from a discipline such as Orthopaedic Surgery and they do not recover as predicted.

It is quite common that doctors cannot explain the cause of the ongoing pain – but this does not mean that there is no other possible explanation for the cause of the pain.

The best approach to treating Chronic Pain is widely recognised as a multi-disciplinary approach. It is often in a sufferer's best interests to have a combined approach from different expert fields to rehabilitate them and provide the treatment and support they need.

We make it a priority to put questions to other medical experts, questioning other potential reasons for the ongoing pain and if referral to a pain consultant is recommended. Dealing with a claim where a client is suffering from chronic pain often requires a multi-disciplinary approach where we instruct a team of experts to examine you. This can include:

  • Consultant in Pain Medicine
  • Rheumatologist
  • Neurologist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational Therapist

Early Diagnosis?

If you are in pain, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. This will rule out any other cause of your pain and help to ensure you access the correct treatment as swiftly as possible.

It is well reported that people who have early access to treatment and rehabilitation have a better outcome and better prospects of making a swift recovery.

The Cycle of Pain

Clients report that once they enter what is often described as "the cycle of pain", it can be a difficult to manage without the right care and support.

Psychological symptoms often go hand in hand with physiological symptoms associated with the pain:

  • Difficulties in the workplace, such as struggling to do their day to day job
  • Not being able to work full time hours
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Low mood, depression, stress and anxiety
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Weight management
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Side effects from pain medications

The Benefits of Early Treatment and Rehabilitation

Many patients report the benefits of participating in a dedicated Pain Management programme that combines all the different types of physical rehabilitation and psychological support.

The type of treatment will depend on which type and stage of the condition you are diagnosed with and what symptoms you are exhibiting. Your doctor should advise you of your best option, which may include:

  • Prescribed pain relief medication
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Psychological support
  • In some severe cases where other methods of pain control do not work, a spinal cord stimulator may be fitted –a surgically implanted device which uses electric currents to control and manage the pain

Access To The Right Level of Care?

If you are fortunate enough to take advantage of treatment on the NHS, be aware that not all recommended pain treatments are available, and there may be lengthy waiting lists.

We are passionate about accessing the right treatment and support for our clients; we are strong advocates of accessing client's assistance from vocational experts to provide both our client and their employer with advice and support to help them continue to work where possible.

If your injury was not your fault, your solicitor should be able to access the treatment and rehabilitation for you privately and ask the Defendant Insurer to fund the treatment costs.

Many professionals who want to continue working find that it is easier to access the treatment privately:

  • Treatment can be arranged at a convenient time for you, so it doesn't impact your career, and you do not have to take any time off work
  • We can also obtain advice from occupational therapists on any aids, adaptation, or adjustments in your home to help with any disabilities caused by the accident

How Are Injuries Leading To Chronic Pain Valued?

Claimant and Defendant Solicitors, the insurance industry, and the judiciary all refer to the Judicial College (JC) Guidelines when assessing the likely value of a claim. Injuries which lead to chronic pain now have a chapter in their own right in this publication.

The latest edition of the JC Guidelines provides the following factors to consider the value of a claim:

  1. The degree of pain experienced
  2. The overall impact of the symptoms (which may include fatigue, associated impairments of cognitive function, muscle weakness, headaches etc. and taking account of any fluctuation in symptoms) on mobility, ability to function in daily life and the need for care/assistance
  3. The effect of the condition on the injured person's ability to work
  4. The need to take medication to control symptoms of pain and the effect of such medication on the person's ability to function in normal daily life
  5. The extent to which treatment has been undertaken and its effect (or its predicted effect in respect of future treatment)
  6. Whether the condition is limited to one anatomical site or is widespread
  7. The presence of any separately identifiable psychiatric disorder and its impact on the perception of pain
  8. The age of the claimant
  9. Prognosis

The guidance identifies the potential link with psychiatric disorders and the impact on the perception of pain as a factor to be taken into account. It is very clear that this is just one of multiple factors to consider and take into account when dealing with a claim for chronic pain.

How Much Can I Expect To Claim?

If there is an associated claim for psychological injury and you have suffered an orthopaedic physical injury as a result of the accident, each will also be valued separately in its own right in the appropriate section of the JC Guidelines.

You will not be awarded separate sums for each part of your injury symptoms, but they are all taken into account as a whole and discount for the overlap of symptoms is taken into account when determining an award of damages.

The Current JC Guidelines Chapter on Chronic Pain Claims are as Follows:

a) Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)—also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
The condition is characterised by intense, burning pain which can make moving or even touching the affected limb intolerable.
With 10% Uplift
(i) Severe: in such cases the prognosis will be poor; ability to work will be greatly reduced if not completely eliminated; significant care/domestic assistance needs; co-existing psychological problems may be present. At the top end of the scale, symptoms may have spread to other limbs. £39,900 to £63,850 £43,890 to £70,240
(ii) Moderate: the top end of this bracket will include cases where significant effects have been experienced for a prolonged period but prognosis assumes some future improvement enabling a return to work in a significant (not necessarily full-time) capacity and with only modest future care requirements. At the lower end will be cases where symptoms have persisted for some years but are more variable in intensity, where medication is effective in limiting symptoms and/or where the prognosis is markedly better, though not necessarily for complete resolution. May already have resumed employment. Minimal, if any, future care requirements. £21,300 to £39,900 £23,430 to £43,890
(b) Other Pain Disorders
(i) Severe: In these cases significant symptoms will be on-going despite treatment and will be expected to persist, resulting in adverse impact on ability to work and the need for some care/assistance. Most cases of Fibromyalgia with serious persisting symptoms will fall within this range. £32,000 to £47,875 £35,200 to £52,660
(ii) Moderate: At the top end of this bracket are cases where symptoms are on-going, albeit of lesser degree than in (i) above and the impact on ability to work/function in daily life is less marked. At the bottom end are cases where full, or near complete recovery has been made (or is anticipated) after symptoms have persisted for a number of years. £39,900 to £63,850 £43,890 to £70,240

Things To Remember

If you're suffering from life altering pain that is chronic and persistent following an injury – more importantly - an injury that was not your fault, you could have the basis for a compensation claim.

  1. Often, the award for the injury aspect of the case (general damages) forms the lowest part of any damages award.
  2. In addition to this you can claim for any financial losses you have incurred in the past so far as a result of the accident (such as loss of earnings, treatment charges) and that you might incur in the future (future loss of earnings, future treatment costs, future aids and adaptations you might need).
  3. You can also claim for the care and assistance you have been given by family and friends even if you have not paid for this and for any care and assistance you might need in the future if the instructed medical expert expresses an opinion that this is needed as a direct result of the accident.

What To Do Next?

If you've suffered an injury and have pain that is chronic and persistent following an injury – more importantly - an injury that was not your fault, you could have the basis for a compensation claim.

Our specialist lawyers are always on hand to offer you further advice:

Melanie Burden is Head of the General Personal Injury Department at Simpson Millar. She specialises in employer's liability and public liability, with particular emphasis on Chronic Pain cases. Her years of experience bring a level of personal knowledge and understanding which makes her particularly sensitive to your position.

Claire Roantree is the Head of the Serious Personal Injury Department at Simpson Millar. Claire strongly believes in the need for early rehabilitation intervention to help clients maximise their potential. She works closely with a network of medical and care experts to assist clients and their families with issues such as mobility, rehabilitation, education, employment, financial affairs and welfare benefits.

We offer nationwide coverage and both Melanie and Claire are happy to travel to visit clients in their home or can arrange a meeting via skype if preferred.

Dealing with chronic pain can be one of the most stressful times that a person has to endure. The unfortunate truth is that chronic pain is ongoing, often extremely distressing, and life altering. The expert Chronic Pain Solicitors at Simpson Millar know the importance of having the right level of support; this is why we are here to help and advise you every step of the way.

If you think an injury is causing you long-term, chronic pain all you need to do is contact us: just call 0808 129 3320, or click here to fill out our enquiry form and we will call you back.

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Melanie Burden | Partner, Head of Personal Injury | Simpson Millar LLP

Melanie Burden
Head of Personal Injury

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