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Can You Sue for RSD or CRPS in Washington State?

Colburn Law

RSD or CRPS Lawsuits in Washington State

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) are painful conditions that can directly affect your quality of life. These injuries often occur after a car accident or other serious act of negligence, leading to medical expenses, lengthy recovery times, lost wages, and more.

If you are suffering from RSD or another form of CRPS after an accident, you have the right to collect compensation for your damages. However, you will need to prove someone else’s negligence directly caused your injuries.

What Is CRPS and RSD?

CRPS is a rare condition that involves long-lasting chronic pain in your arm or leg, often out of proportion to the original injury you experienced. No one knows the exact cause of this condition, but most cases develop after suffering an injury, surgery, or other trauma.

Symptoms of CRPS often include the following.

  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Continuous throbbing or burning pain
  • Changes in skin color, temperature, and texture
  • Stiffness, swelling, and damage to the joints
  • Muscular atrophy, spasms, or weakness
  • Sensitivity to touch or temperature

There are two types of CRPS: RSD (Type 1 CRPS) and causalgia (Type 2 CRPS).

  • Type 1 CRPS, or RSD, occurs after suffering an injury that does not result in nerve damage to the affected area.
  • Type 2 CRPS, or causalgia, occurs after suffering an injury that does result in nerve damage.

Both types of CRPS share similar symptoms, but occur due to different causes. Crushing injuries, bone fractures, infections, surgical complications, and traumatic medical conditions such as heart attacks or strokes can lead to CRPS.

Can You File a Lawsuit for CRPS/RSD?

If you develop CRPS after suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. You will have to file your claim in Washington civil court within three years of your initial injury, or the court will likely dismiss your claim.

To collect compensation in your lawsuit, you will need to prove that the at-fault party in your claim committed an act of negligence. Proving negligence involves satisfying the following elements.

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
  • He or she breached his or her duty of care.
  • The breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
  • You can collect damages in your lawsuit.

For example, say you develop CRPS after a driver ran a red light and collided into the side of your car. You can establish duty of care since all drivers must follow traffic laws, and the breach occurred when the driver failed to obey the red light. Your medical records can establish the cause and presence of CRPS, and your attorney can help you calculate your damages.

Potential Damages in CRPS/RSD Lawsuits

You can collect multiple types of damages in a CRPS lawsuit, but all compensation must directly relate to your injury. The purpose of compensatory damages is to reimburse your economic and non-economic losses.

Common damages CRPS victims claim include the following.

  • Chronic pain and disability
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Disability accommodations
  • Mental health conditions, such as PTSD
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

CRPS lawsuits can be difficult to handle without legal representation. If you have not done so already, contact a Seattle personal injury attorney to investigate your claim, evaluate your potential settlement, and represent your best interests each step of the way.