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Can a Motor Vehicle Accident Cause CRPS?

When you are in a car accident, you may be lucky and only sustain minor injuries. However, the more serious the crash, the more likely your injuries are to be severe.

Regardless of how minor your initial injuries may be, a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) can develop. CRPS is a type of chronic pain that arises and is far more debilitating and severe than the typical results of an injury.

This condition generally affects the arms or legs, making it impossible to walk without experiencing incredible pain. The effects of this condition can be long-lasting and destroy your ability to do simple daily tasks or enjoy the things you once loved.

If you have been experiencing severe pain even after your car accident injuries weren’t all that severe, you should learn more about how CRPS may factor into your car accident claim. 

Damaged Car After T-Bone Collision

How Can Car Accidents Cause CRPS?

CRPS tends to result when the body takes on physical trauma. This is perhaps why it occurs after car accidents. After the force of impact, you may have broken bones, muscle strains or sprains, internal injuries, or head injuries.

Along with the symptoms of your initial car accident injuries, CRPS can cause you to develop increasingly painful symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Aggravated joints with pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Experiencing a burning sensation or one akin to pins and needles
  • Pressurized feelings in your limbs
  • Restricted motions
  • Skin discolorations and textural changes, especially of your nails
  • Involuntary jerking of the limbs
  • Extreme difficulty in controlling muscle movements
  • Abnormal sweating

Types of CRPS

There are two types of CRPS – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is the most common form of this condition.

CRPS Type 1

Sometimes referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), CRPS Type 1 is distinguished by the symptoms listed above. However, the accident injury sustained did not result in nerve damage to the limb affected by this condition.

CRPS Type 2

The symptoms of CRPS Type 2 are often the same as in Type 1. However, in this type, there is evidence of nerve injury. The distinction is that the nerve injury is not only in the affected limb but also present in other areas of the body as a result of the residual dysfunction in the nervous system. 

Impacts of CRPS on Your Lifestyle

CRPS is an incredibly mysterious condition that can further complicate your life after a car accident. The symptoms are often so severe that they can cause permanent disability. When the muscles become fixed in a certain position, you may be unable to move that part of your body. Your skin may also break down and become affected

Additionally, the pain that accompanies these unusual positions can be persistent and debilitating. This can completely shatter your day-to-day life, much of which will be spent working on your recovery. You may not be able to return to work for the short term, and in some cases, it may be completely long-term.

When you are unable to earn a living or enjoy the things you once loved doing with friends and family, CRPS can impact your mental health. Due to the variance of symptoms and the fact that they may even evolve over time, CRPS is difficult to treat. 

Treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

The treatment that your doctor will recommend for CRPS will depend on the symptoms you experience. You may be provided with physical therapy, medication, or neural stimulation, including an implanted spinal stimulator. Some car accident victims with CRPS will require surgery.

The medical bills for these treatments can quickly spiral out of control. While you struggle to recover from this painful condition, you will be incurring hefty medical debts. You should not delay treatment if you are diagnosed with CRPS as it can cause your muscles, bones, and skin to deteriorate, leading to loss of mobility in the affected limb.

If you are concerned about how to cover these medical expenses from CRPS after a car crash, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help provide legal guidance and pursue compensation on your behalf while you focus on recovery from CRPS. 

Treatments for CRPS may include prescription drugs, and while none are specifically made to treat this condition, they may help relieve some of the pain. Typically, prescriptions for CRPS include anti-inflammatory medications, seizure medication, corticosteroids, and depression medication.

Doctors often insist upon physical therapy for their patients who have CRPS from car accidents. The exercises in physical therapy help increase blood circulation and in time, can increase flexibility while strengthening the affected area. In some cases, occupational therapy may be utilized to help you use your body in a different way to go about your daily life.

When the pain is too debilitating, sympathetic nerve blocks may be injected next to your spine. These anesthetics can block some of your pain while helping improve blood circulation.

The physical pain that comes from CRPS can also affect your mental health. Depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms are common in this situation. If you are experiencing them, you should make sure you get the treatment you need. 

An implanted spinal stimulator may also be required,

What Kind of Legal Compensation Can You Receive for CRPS?

Experts are still mystified as to why some people develop CRPS after car accident injuries while some do not. Most people who have CRPS develop this condition after a traumatic injury.

When you have been in a car accident that you didn’t cause and you wind up developing CRPS, you should not be saddled with these expensive medical bills. Hiring a car accident attorney can provide you with the legal representation you need to pursue compensation for your medical expenses which include your treatments for CRPS, lost income, physical pain, and emotional suffering. 

Inside of a Crashed Car With the Airbags Exploded

Take the Next Steps After CRPS

Getting the damages you deserve is going to require the aggressive skills of a personal injury attorney to fight for you. Let the California personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP advocate for your fair compensation. We have two convenient offices in San Jose and Campbell where you can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.