Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Help for Injured crewmen and fishermen suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Maintenance and Cure and Jones Act benefits for victims of RSD and CRPS.

Injured seamen and commercial fishermen who suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act and payment of maintenance and cure benefits.

The very nature of seamen’s work makes them susceptible to hand and feet injuries that may progress into a disabling condition referred to as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which was formerly called RSD. Symptoms of CRPS vary from individual to individual. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for complex regional pain syndrome.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), has become increasingly diagnosed in cases involving injuries to men and women working at sea. Medical experts disagree about the exact causes of complex regional pain syndrome. What is known is that CRPS can be caused by minor trauma and that victims of CRPS suffer from severe chronic pain that disrupts the injury victim’s lives.

Common signs and symptoms associated with CRPS include continuous throbbing or burning pain. CRPS is most commonly seen in injuries to the legs, feet, arms and hands. There may be swelling in these areas, and the injured crewman may describe temperature sensitivity, changes in skin color (molted red or blue skin). Those suffering from CRPS have difficulty using the affected limb; the limb can atrophy.

Complex regional pain syndrome may develop following an injury to a nerve or, in other, cases develop following a relatively minor crush type injury with no broken bones or direct injury to the nerve. In either case, if CRPS develops as a result of an injury to a crewman working aboard a vessel, the maritime doctrine of maintenance and cure may apply. This requires the injured seaman’s employer to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical care associated with a CRPS injury. Treating CRPS can involve costly therapies, surgery and, in some cases, spinal cord stimulators. Victims of CRPS suffer agonizing pain and may develop depression and anxiety symptoms accompanying the chronic pain symptoms. It is important to for crewmen suffering from CRPS symptoms to receive early diagnosis and treatment which may prevent the extent and spread of the injury.

The modern trend is that treatment for chronic pain syndrome designed to improve an injured seaman’s ability to function is curative in nature. Your surgeon or chronic pain physician may require prior authorization or guarantee of payment before providing expensive chronic pain treatments. Maritime lawyers assist their clients in getting the appropriate medical and insurance authorizations for these treatments and in difficult cases ask the courts for orders requiring recommended treatments.

Where the underlying injury that triggers the CRPS is the result of negligence or unseaworthiness, a seaman suffering from CRPS may have a claim for compensatory damages under the Jones Act and the general maritime law. Maritime lawyer James Beard has represented injured crewmen and seamen suffering from CRPS and helped them recover compensation for their CRPS symptoms. He works with you and your doctors to get you employer to authorize payment for the proper care and treatment you need. Many injured seamen with CRPS symptoms cannot return to work, and claims for pain and suffering, psychological stress, lost earning capacity, and future medical expenses must be pursued.

If you are an injured seaman or fisherman suffering from CRPS, contact James M. Beard to discuss your potential rights under the Jones Act and the general maritime law. Your future depends on getting fair compensation for your injuries.