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Can You Get Workers’ Comp for CRPS in South Carolina?

CRPS is a condition that not many people know about. CRPS stands for “complex regional pain syndrome,” and a diagnosis essentially covers extra, mostly unexplained pain after an injury. CRPS can feel like your injured body part is on fire, but getting Workers’ Compensation coverage for this condition can be challenging.

Getting Workers’ Compensation coverage for CRPS is possible, but it requires showing that the condition stemmed from work conditions or another work-related injury and providing evidence of the condition. CPRS is often an invisible disease, which makes it a prime target for Workers’ Compensation carriers to deny claims, often making these cases quite challenging without a lawyer.

For a free review of your case, call our Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.

Signs and Symptoms of CRPS After a Work Injury in South Carolina

If you think you have CRPS, you need to get medical treatment and document all of the symptoms and injuries you face. Our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation attorneys can use this information and your doctor’s findings to help with your claim.

Generally, CRPS symptoms involve abnormal pain in an injured body part. This can include sensitivity to touch and temperature. In some cases, it comes with physical changes to the affected body part, such as skin discoloration or changes in the texture of the hair or nails.

These symptoms can stem from an injury with no clear nerve damage to speak of – called Type I CRPS – or from a known, identifiable nerve injury – known as Type II CRPS or “causalgia.”

CRPS is sometimes called RSDS or reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. This is not to be confused with RSD (rejection sensitive dysphoria), a completely unrelated mental health symptom that has no association with the condition we are discussing here.

Proving CRPS Was Work-Related in a South Carolina Workers’ Comp Claim

To succeed in a Workers’ Compensation claim for CRPS, you have to show that it was actually related to your work. This can happen in two ways, one of which is much harder to prove than the other. There are also differences in being able to prove your injury was work-related based on the type of CRPS you have.

Symptom of Injury vs. Occupational Illness

Workers’ Compensation covers both acute injuries that occur in the line of work as well as illnesses and health conditions sustained over time due to exposure to chemicals, certain environments, or repetitive motions. An example of an acute injury would be something like a back injury during a lifting accident or a broken bone in a work-related car crash, whereas an illness or condition would be something like cancer from chemical exposure or repetitive stress injuries from typing.

Proving an acute injury is often much easier – and it is simpler to show that it happened at work. Proving an illness or injury is harder, and connecting it to your work conditions requires a lot of evidence.

CRPS can happen both ways. If it stems from an acute work injury, then it counts the same as any other symptom. In the same way that a broken bone might need surgery to set it, a cast to let it heal, and painkillers to help you recover, a broken bone might need care for resulting CRPS. If your CRPS stems from another injury and we can link it to your work tasks, the case should be easier.

Proving that you developed CRPS because of work conditions without another injury will be harder. There is often little evidence connecting exposure, environmental conditions, or repetitive tasks to CRPS.

Type of CRPS

Type I CRPS is often quite mysterious and has no clear, documented evidence of nerve damage to point to. Because of this, doctors might not even be able to confidently diagnose the condition, let alone link it to a particular work injury. Without this link, the insurance carrier is likely to claim that your condition either does not exist because there is no physical evidence of it or that it cannot be linked to your injury because there is no nerve damage.

This can be overcome with strong evidence. For one, CRPS in the same exact location that you injured at work is too unlikely to be a coincidence. Second, CRPS often has physical symptoms like skin texture changes that can show it really does exist and is not just something you are claiming.

If you have Type II CRPS or causalgia, it can be easier to prove that it was related to your work injury. Nerve damage in the same location as your work injury is a clear indicator that the damage (and thus the CRPS) is linked to the injury you suffered. Insurance carriers are therefore potentially more accepting of claims for Type II CRPS.

Documenting Your CRPS for a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina

If you are having excessive pain after a work injury, talk to a doctor about it. Make sure that they document the severity of the pain, the conditions in which it is amplified, and any other details. If we can show that medical evidence links the pain to the initial work injury, it will make a much stronger case.

It may also be in your best interests to request scans and tests so your doctor can rule out other conditions, symptoms, and causes. This helps us show that it really is CRPS, not some other condition that might be separate from your work injury.

Documented evidence of your condition can help prove your CRPS really exists, especially visible physical symptoms or nerve damage that can be pinpointed. No one can see or feel your pain, so it is up to evidence like this to prove your condition to skeptical Workers’ Compensation carriers.

Call Our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today

If you think you have CRPS from a work injury, call our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation attorneys at (803) 451-4000 for a free case review.