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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
Attorney • (800) 752-0042

When Minor Car Crash Injuries Result in Long-Term Disabilities

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When many of us think of car accidents, we often visualize horrific car crash scenes where the vehicles involved are crushed or smashed beyond recognition. This is probably due to the images we see on television news or online publications. These are typically the types of accidents which are reported on by the media and often victims in these crashes suffer severe injuries – or more tragically – death.

Accidents which appear to be minor fender-benders rarely make the news, yet these minor accidents can actually cause severe and debilitating injuries to car crash victims. It is not uncommon for symptoms of auto accident injuries to show up hours, sometimes days, after the accident occurred. This is often the case with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a condition that many crash victims develop.

CRPS is a painful, chronic condition that can become progressively worse. Victims of CRPS suffer from severe pain of one or more limbs. Some victims describe the pain as a combination of burning and electric shocks. There is often inflammation, as well as changes to the skin itself, becoming either very hot or very cold to the touch.

If a patient has suffered from this type of chronic pain for six months or more, a doctor may suspect CRPS, after ruling out other types of chronic pain cause. This diagnosis is made based on patient history, clinical examination, and laboratory results.

Ninety percent of CRPS are Type 1. There is usually a slight injury, such as a sprain, but no nerve damage. In Type 2, victims develop the condition after they have broken a bone, had an infection, or had surgery.

In both types, the onset is quick and the pain intense. The affected limb or limbs often become super sensitive to touch or temperature changes. CRPS victims often will not use the limb less because of the severe pain and this can lead to atrophy of the affected area.

A common scenario for CRPS car accident victims goes like this:

The victim is in a car accident. They either have no symptoms of injury and go home or maybe are feeling a little banged up and end up going to the emergency room just to get checked out. If they do go to the hospital, CT scans and/or x-rays usually reveal no broken bones and they are sent home.

Within a day or two, that car accident victim is in excruciating pain and usually back at the hospital. The pain typically spreads from the original area to different parts of the body.

If caught early enough, treatment may be successful in alleviating most of the symptoms, however, it can take months before an actual diagnosis of CRPS is finally made. Unfortunately, there is no current cure for the condition, leaving victims to suffer through a life-long injury. This is why it is important for victims who have been injured in car accidents to contact a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney to find out what their legal options may be for their pain and loss.