Compensation claims for CRPS
If you suffer from complex regional pain syndrome following an accident that wasn't your fault, you could be eligible to make a CRPS compensation claim
How Much Could You Claim?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Claims

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a poorly understood condition that causes chronic pain and other debilitating symptoms. It typically affects an arm, leg, hand or foot but can also occur in different parts of the body. While the exact cause is poorly understood, CRPS typically develops after various triggers, including fractures, sprains, surgery, or other injuries due to an abnormal nervous system response to trauma.

If you have developed the condition due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to make a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome claim. Some typical situations that may lead to compensation for CRPS include road traffic accidents, sports injuries, medical negligence and accidents at work.

To find out more about making a CRPS claim or to start a claim today, please call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back. An experienced solicitor will offer you a free case assessment and answer any questions you may have.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, formerly known as causalgia or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a debilitating chronic pain condition. CRPS typically develops after an injury, surgery, or trauma to a limb but can also occur without an apparent cause. While most people will recover relatively quickly after an injury, those diagnosed with this rare neurological condition can remain in pain for an unusual amount of time. Common symptoms associated with CRPS include:

  • Chronic and intense pain that may feel like stabbing, burning or stinging;
  • Increased sensitivity to painful stimuli that can make even a light touch or pressure hurt;
  • Changes in skin colour and temperature, which may become mottled, reddish or bluish and feel warmer or colder than the other limbs;
  • Swelling and oedema leading to a feeling of discomfort and tightness;
  • Muscle weakness, tremors, and difficulty moving the affected limb;
  • Changes in nail and hair growth patterns, such as rapid nail growth or changes in their texture;
  • Muscle weakness, tremors and spasms, and difficulty moving the affected limb;
  • Joint stiffness and limited range of motion in the affected limb;
  • Changes in skin texture, such as shiny appearance, thinning or excessive sweating;
  • Excess bone growth or thinning and remodelling of the bone;
  • CRPS can also have a significant impact on a person’s emotional well-being, leading to anxiety, depression, and difficulty coping with the pain.

What are the types and stages of CRPS?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is typically categorised into two types: CRPS Type I and CRPS Type II. These types are based on the presence or absence of a confirmed nerve injury.

  • Type I – Formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, it often develops after surgery, an injury or illness that did not involve damage to a major nerve and accounts for around 90% of all CRPS cases.
  • Type II – It occurs where there is a confirmed nerve injury, often resulting from trauma, surgery, or other conditions, and was previously known as causalgia.

CRPS is often described in stages based on the progression of symptoms. Doctors and specialists often identify three main stages of the illness:

  • Stage I – It typically lasts a few weeks to a few months and is characterised by severe burning pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the affected limb. Sensitivity to touch and temperature changes may also be present.
  • Stage II – This stage typically lasts up to six months. The pain may become more severe during this time, and the skin changes more noticeable. Joint stiffness and weakened muscles are common symptoms.
  • Stage III – In this advanced stage, irreversible damage may have occurred, leading to permanent disability and severe limitations in movement. The pain may persist, and emotional and psychological impacts can be profound.

Not all individuals will go through these stages sequentially, and some may not move past a particular stage. Early intervention and management are essential to prevent or minimise the progression of CRPS.

How is CRPS diagnosed and treated?

There are no specific tests to diagnose Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and many of its symptoms are similar to other conditions or illnesses. Specific ways that could provide clues if CRPS is suspected include:

  • A detailed examination by a specialist familiar with neurological and pain syndromes;
  • Imaging studies such as X-rays, bone scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to assess bone and soft tissue changes in the affected limb and rule out other conditions;
  • Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) may be performed to evaluate nerve function and identify any abnormalities;
  • Blood tests can help rule out infections, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases;
  • Tests that measure blood flow, sweating and differences in skin temperature between the affected limb and the others.

There is no cure for CRPS and no specific treatment that works for every patient. Like with most chronic pain conditions, a combination of different treatments may help with pain management and other symptoms. These include four main approaches:

  • Pain relief. There are various medicines that can help reduce pain, such as antidepressants, steroids for inflammation, ketamine, blood pressure medication and anticonvulsants. Your doctor may also inject anaesthetics near the spine to block pain signals to the brain.
  • Physical therapy. Rehabilitation is essential to decrease pain and improve mobility and range of motion. It may involve exercises, stretching, and desensitisation techniques that also reduce the risk of long-term physical issues.
  • Psychological support. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychological support can help individuals cope with the pain, stress, and emotional challenges associated with CRPS.
  • Education and self-management. Approaches such as occupational therapy can provide advice on how to improve your daily functioning and the steps you can take to manage living with CRPS.

What is the outcome of CRPS?

For around 85% of people diagnosed with the condition, their pain and other symptoms will gradually improve over the first two years. However, some may continue to feel ongoing pain despite treatment. As a general rule, early intervention and a multidisciplinary approach are essential to achieve the best possible outcome.

Severe or prolonged cases can significantly affect your life, but luckily, these are pretty rare. The increased psychological distress will typically worsen its severity and prognosis. This can affect your ability to perform daily activities and impact your overall quality of life. When the condition is not well-managed, it can result in long-term disability.

If you make a successful Complex Regional Pain Syndrome claim, your compensation will reflect the degree of pain and disability you suffered because of the condition.

Can I make a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome claim?

If you are suffering from CRPS, you could be eligible to claim compensation. The easiest way to find out whether you have a valid Complex Regional Pain Syndrome claim is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will assess your case and determine whether:

  • Another party owed you a legal duty of care;
  • They breached their duty by acting negligently;
  • You developed CRPS following an accident that was caused by their negligence.

A duty of care is typically easy to prove based on legislation such as the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. If your solicitor can establish liability for the accident that caused your condition, they will help you gather evidence to build a strong case and get you the compensation you deserve.

It is essential to remember that you may be entitled to compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident. If you have less than 50% of the blame, you can receive a reduced payment that reflects your contributory negligence.

What evidence do I need to support a CRPS claim?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) claims can be challenging, and the evidence required may vary based on the specific circumstances of your case. Solicitors typically use the following types of proof to support a personal injury claim:

  • Medical records. Test results, scans and X-rays from the hospital that treated you will help prove that you were diagnosed with CRPS and that other conditions have been ruled out. It is also essential to have doctor’s notes about the onset, symptoms, and progression of the CRPS.
  • Treatment records. Records of medical treatments received for CRPS, including medications, physical therapy, nerve blocks, surgeries, and any other interventions, can demonstrate the severity of the condition and the efforts made to manage it.
  • Visual evidence. Pictures or a video of the accident scene can help to prove how it occurred and who was at fault. It can help if you also took photos of your injuries to show the extent of your initial suffering.
  • Witness statements. If any bystanders saw the accident, ask for their names and contact details. If liability is denied, their testimony can help clarify the events that led to your injury. You can also use statements from friends and family about how your life was affected by CRPS.
  • Accident reports. Accidents that occur at work or in a public place like a shop or restaurant are usually recorded in the company’s accident book. Make sure to report your accident to the relevant party and ask for a signed copy of the report to show where and when the incident took place.
  • Employment records. It is essential to establish the impact of CRPS on your ability to work if it has affected your job. You can use letters from your employer, pay slips and tax records to support your claim.
  • CCTV footage. If available, CCTV or dashcam footage of the accident can help establish how this occurred and who is responsible for it.
  • Your notes. Keep a journal detailing the daily impact of CRPS on your life, including pain levels, functional limitations, and emotional well-being. This can help prove how severe and debilitating your condition is and the ongoing challenges you face because of it.
  • Police reports. If you were injured due to a criminal assault or a hit-and-run, it is essential to notify the police and get a crime reference number.
  • Financial evidence. You need documents such as receipts, invoices and medical bills to prove the financial impact that the CRPS has had on you.

What accidents can lead to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

In almost all cases, CRPS is due to the body’s abnormal reaction to nerve trauma or an injury. Therefore, virtually any accident can cause you to develop the condition, including:

  • Road traffic accidents. Trauma sustained in a traffic collision, such as whiplash, fractures, soft tissue injuries, or nerve damage, may trigger an abnormal response in the nervous system and lead to CRPS.
  • Accidents at work. Workplace accidents, especially those involving crush injuries, falls, or trauma to limbs, can cause you to develop the condition. If your employer failed to fulfil their duty of care towards you, you could make an accident at work claim.
  • Slips, trips and falls. Slips and trips can cause various injuries that may involve trauma to bones, nerves or soft tissues and may lead to CRPS.
  • Sports injuries. The repetitive stress or sudden impact associated with sports activities may result in nerve damage, triggering the condition and causing chronic pain and other symptoms.
  • Medical negligence. Errors during surgery, improper administration of anaesthesia, or other medical mistakes can lead to nerve damage and subsequent development of CRPS.
  • Holiday accidents. Injuries during recreational activities or outdoor excursions on holidays may initiate the cascade of events that contribute to the development of the syndrome.
  • Criminal assaults. The physical trauma and emotional stress caused by a violent crime can trigger the abnormal pain response characteristic of CRPS.

If you developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome due to an accident that was not your fault, you might be able to recover compensation from the responsible party.

Frequently asked questions

Please take a look at the section below to learn more about claiming CRPS compensation. We have answered the most common questions from claimants about the personal injury claims process. If you would like more information and legal advice, please don’t hesitate to call 0800 032 3660 or use our contact form to request a call back.

What is the time limit to start a CRPS compensation claim?

The time limit to start a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome compensation claim is typically three years. Under the Limitation Act 1980, the time begins to run from when your condition was diagnosed by a doctor (date of knowledge). After three years, your case will be statute-barred, which means you will no longer be eligible to claim. However, there are some exceptions where a different time limit may be applicable, such as:

  • With child injury claims, a suitable adult could claim on their behalf at any time before their 18th birthday. Otherwise, the injured child has until turning 21 to claim compensation.
  • There is no time limit if the claimant lacks mental capacity and cannot handle their case. That could be due to the syndrome itself or another condition, such as a brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • If you were injured abroad, the time limit to start a CRPS compensation claim could be much shorter than three years, depending on the country.
  • If your CRPS diagnosis relates to a criminal injury, there is a two year time limit to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

How much compensation can I claim for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

The amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on the severity of your condition and how it has affected your life. Your solicitor will ensure that you receive a fair settlement that covers all your losses and future needs. If you win a CRPS claim, your compensation will include two types of damages:

  • Special damages are awarded for financial losses such as medical bills, loss of earnings, travel expenses and care costs. They are based on evidence such as receipts, payslips and invoices.
  • General damages are granted for subjective losses such as pain, suffering and loss of amenities. They are more challenging to calculate and are based on the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. According to our compensation calculator, depending on the severity of CRPS, you could receive between £28,030 and £84,010 in general damages.

CRPS claims can be complex and take several years to conclude, but your solicitor may be able to secure interim payments on your behalf. This can help ease financial difficulties that may arise from being unable to work while waiting for your final compensation settlement.

Do CRPS solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service?

If you have grounds to take legal action, a specialist CRPS solicitor will help you claim on a no win no fee* basis. This service means you do not have to pay anything upfront for legal representation. Furthermore, your solicitor only gets a success fee from your compensation award if they win your case. This will be no more than 25%. If you lose, you do not pay them a single penny.

If your claim is unsuccessful, the ATE insurance your solicitor will take out on your behalf will cover all the litigation costs, ensuring you are never at financial risk when making a claim.

To find out within minutes whether you have a valid claim for CRPS, call us for free on 0800 032 3660 or enter your details into our online claim form to request a call back from an experienced solicitor.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.