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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome’s Effect on Jury Verdicts

When a person suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome presents their case to a jury, it is important for the attorney to emphasize long-term suffering caused by the illness. The long-term effects of CRPS include intense and prolonged pain, joint stiffness and swelling, limited mobility, sensory changes, muscle spasms and weakness, psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and loss of quality of life. CRPS has long term effects on the plaintiff’s emotional, mental, and physical well being and can certainly effect their work and home life. The impact is extensive. Without an effective presentation that focuses on long-term suffering, the jury may be unable to understand the full impact of the illness and award a diminished verdict.

Signs and symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in the arm, leg, hand or foot

  • Sensitivity to touch or cold

  • Swelling of the painful area

  • Changes in skin temperature — alternating between sweaty and cold

  • Changes in skin color, ranging from white and blotchy to red or blue

  • Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area

  • Changes in hair and nail growth

  • Joint stiffness, swelling and damage

  • Muscle spasms, tremors and weakness (atrophy)

  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person.

CRPS typically occurs as a result of a trauma or an injury.

CRPS occurs in two types, with similar signs and symptoms, but different causes:

  • Type 1. Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), this type occurs after an illness or injury that didn't directly damage the nerves in the affected limb. About 90% of people with CRPS have type 1.

  • Type 2. Once referred to as causalgia, this type has symptoms similar to those of type 1. But type 2 CRPS occurs after a distinct nerve injury.

It is also important for the attorney to discuss each stage of CRPS in detail – from acute to subacute and chronic. This provides the jury with an overview of how long the pain and suffering will last, as well as how it can be managed with treatments like physical therapy, medications, heat or cold therapy and biofeedback. With a clear understanding of long-term suffering caused by CRPS, juries may be more willing to award higher verdicts.

By effectively presenting long-term suffering associated with CRPS to a jury, attorneys can ensure that their clients receive the compensation they deserve for their illness. It is important for attorneys to understand the complexity of CRPS and its long-term effects in order to successfully argue for higher verdicts in court. By utilizing the expertise of pain experts at Expert Medical Solutions, attorneys can have an advantage over other lawyers and give their clients the best chance at receiving a satisfactory verdict.

Long-term suffering associated with CRPS is an important element to emphasize when presenting a case to the jury. By discussing each stage of CRPS and its long-term effects, attorneys can provide juries with a better understanding of how long the person's pain and suffering will last and ensure that they receive fair compensation for their illness. With this information in mind, attorneys can stand out among other lawyers and give their clients the best chance at receiving a satisfactory verdict.

About Scott A. Berger, M.D. Dr. Scott A. Berger, M.D. has been one of South Florida's premier pain management specialists for the past 30 years. A board-certified, fellowship-trained anesthesiologist, Dr. Berger is a graduate of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Medical Center of New York City for his residency in anesthesiology and fellowship in pain management.

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