Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating medical condition affecting thousands of people throughout the United States. This condition will affect everyone who has it in different ways, and it commonly appears as a long-term consequence of an acute traumatic injury. Many people who suffer injuries at work will know they have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits for their immediate treatment costs, but they may be unaware that workers’ compensation exists to compensate them for the long-term effects of their injuries as well.
If you have been diagnosed with CRPS, you may have more legal options available to you than you realize, and an experienced Monroe CRPS lawyer is the ideal asset to have on your side. A good attorney can not only assist you in navigating the complex workers’ compensation claim process you likely face, but they will also help you address any additional options for legal recourse that may be available to you.
The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have extensive experience guiding Monroe, NC, clients through difficult workers’ compensation claims. We know that you are probably struggling with a wide range of symptoms from CRPS, some of which may interfere with your daily life. If the injury that resulted in your CRPS diagnosis occurred at work, a workers’ compensation claim could secure the benefits you need to manage your condition more effectively and cover lost income resulting from your inability to work due to your CRPS.
Attempting to manage your own workers’ compensation claim without an attorney is possible but very difficult. If you try to handle your claim alone, you face several risks and would be likely to make mistakes with the claim paperwork, some of which can result in delays in the insurance company’s processing of your claim. Additionally, the multifaceted nature of a CRPS diagnosis can raise additional questions regarding your claim, and you may not know how to address such issues on your own.
The right Monroe CRPS lawyer can provide ongoing support and legal representation throughout all stages of a workers’ compensation claim. You will be able to rely on your legal team to help you complete your claim forms and navigate the initial stages of the claim process. If you run into any issues with the insurance company’s handling of your claim, your Monroe CRPS attorney can help you address them effectively. For example, you may need to file an initial claim related to the injury that caused your CRPS and then later revisit the claim to secure compensation for your CRPS treatment. This condition commonly manifests after the initial recovery period, and it could be weeks or months after reaching maximum medical improvement from the initial injury that the victim notices symptoms of CRPS.
Whatever your case may entail, the attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have the experience and the resources that you need on your side to navigate the complexities of your case. Our team has helped many Monroe, NC, clients secure appropriate compensation for their work-related injuries, including those that cause long-term or permanent medical complications. We can also assist you in exploring further legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim process if your situation allows it.
One of the most challenging aspects of a CRPS diagnosis is the fact that it affects everyone who has it in different ways. Many people report a wide range of symptoms that fluctuate from case to case, and these symptoms can range widely in severity for each person with the condition. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of CRPS are:
While physicians can examine a patient and see some of these symptoms, they must often rely on the patient’s recollection of their experiences to accurately diagnose the severity of CRPS. This is part of the reason it can be so difficult for individuals with CRPS to receive appropriate compensation through the workers’ compensation system and Social Security. Many CRPS cases qualify for both types of benefits but gathering the necessary documentation to prove the extent of CRPS can be very difficult in some cases.
Many people with this condition struggle with various symptoms that make it hard for them to complete their job requirements and interfere with their personal lives. When this condition arises as an effect of a workplace injury, it is a covered medical issue for the purposes of a workers’ compensation claim. The victim may also have grounds to seek additional benefits through the Social Security Disability claim process if the condition prevents them from continuing to work.
Some of the most commonly reported causes of CRPS include severe bone fractures and crushing injuries. These can occur in the workplace from numerous causes, such as equipment malfunctions, slip and fall incidents, vehicle accidents, and more. However, while the initial effects of the incident in question may be obvious, it will take some time for the symptoms of CRPS to begin appearing, typically after the victim has recovered from the initial injury.
When workplace injuries occur, victims must start the workers’ compensation claim process as soon as possible. Your Monroe CRPS attorney can assist you with this, but you likely face a complex claim process when your case is likely to lead to more challenging symptoms after your initial recovery. It’s possible to receive a benefits determination soon after your injury that does not address the long-term complications you will begin to experience later. You may need to revisit your claim once the symptoms of CRPS have appeared unless the potential for long-term complications was addressed in your initial claim.
North Carolina enforces some of the strictest workers’ compensation laws in the country, requiring every employer to have workers’ compensation insurance protection. Therefore, when you sustain a workplace injury, you should notify your direct supervisor as soon as possible. In an emergency situation, you should seek medical care immediately, and most of the injuries that can cause CRPS in the future will demand immediate treatment. As soon as you can do so, you should ask your employer for the forms you will need to complete and submit to their workers’ compensation insurance company.
Making any mistakes in your claim forms can lead to significant delays in the insurance company’s handling of your claim. However, if you have an experienced Monroe CRPS attorney handling the case on your behalf, they can streamline the process by ensuring your claim forms are completed correctly and include all necessary supplemental documentation.
You will need to see an approved physician for a medical examination as part of your workers’ compensation claim process. Most insurance companies maintain lists of approved physicians in their service areas, and claimants must-visit approved workers’ compensation doctors for review. The doctor will examine your injury and evaluate your symptoms to determine your level of disability. Their disability rating will heavily influence the insurance company’s determination of your claim.
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation will typically cover all the medical treatment costs a claimant incurs. This includes immediate emergency medical care costs and other medical expenses necessary for the claimant to fully heal from their injury and manage their symptoms. However, for CRPS, the claimant is likely to face extensive immediate medical treatment and a wide range of ongoing care to manage the symptoms of their condition.
Workers’ compensation benefits also cover lost income when the claimant cannot work due to their injury. CRPS can easily pose many challenges to the victim and interfere with their ability to work and manage everyday responsibilities at home. In North Carolina, disability benefits from workers’ compensation are generally paid in one of four possible formats:
Your Monroe CRPS lawyer will help you ensure a fair determination of benefits for your claim. In addition, if your claim is denied for any reason or if the workers’ compensation insurance carrier offers an unacceptable settlement, your attorney can help you address these issues as well.
An important detail to keep in mind regarding conditions like CRPS that may not appear until weeks or months after the claimant recovers from the initial injury is the ability to reopen a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina. State law allows the recipient of workers’ compensation claim benefits to reopen a claim within two years of the last payment date. Therefore, if you were originally awarded temporary disability benefits for your injury, but symptoms of CRPS appear later, you can reopen your case to have your newly discovered symptoms appropriately considered for compensation.
North Carolina state law generally protects employers from civil liability for their employees’ work-related injuries. Therefore, you cannot sue your employer for a work-related injury unless the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law. Alternatively, you could file a civil lawsuit if your employer intentionally caused your injury. Aside from these possibilities, an injured worker with CRPS may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against a third party responsible for causing their injury. For example, if you sustained the injury that resulted in CRPS in a vehicle accident that occurred while you were driving for work, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the driver who hit you.
When you can pursue a third-party personal injury claim in tandem with your workers’ compensation claim, you can potentially maximize your overall recovery. This is because a personal injury claim allows you to seek compensation for the losses that workers’ compensation won’t cover. For example, your disability benefits may equal up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but you can request compensation for the remainder in your personal injury case. You also can seek compensation for your pain and suffering, which workers’ compensation generally doesn’t cover.
Success with a third-party personal injury claim requires establishing fault for the incident in question and proving the full scope of the damages resulting from the defendant’s actions. Your attorney can assist you in gathering whatever proof you need to provide to substantiate your claim. If you succeed with your personal injury claim, you can potentially enhance your total recovery by a substantial degree.
If you have developed CRPS due to the action of a third party or the intentional misconduct of your employer or co-worker, it’s vital to work with an experienced Monroe workers’ compensation lawyer to maximize your total recovery. At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we not only have years of experience navigating workers’ compensation cases on behalf of Monroe, NC, clients, but we have also successfully represented many personal injury plaintiffs. Our team can also provide valuable assistance if you must file a Social Security Disability claim related to your CRPS diagnosis.
It is important to note that if you intend to pursue multiple types of long-term disability benefits, such as workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits, the amount you receive in Social Security benefits will hinge on the amount you receive from workers’ compensation. This is because you can only combine these types of benefits to an extent, and Social Security will typically reduce the overall benefits determination for a claimant if they are already receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Securing approval for Social Security Disability benefits is much more challenging than navigating the workers’ compensation claim process. Therefore, if you intend to pursue both forms of ongoing disability benefits to address your CRPS-related medical needs, it’s best to work with a Monroe CRPS attorney who has experience handling this type of case.
When you choose Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler to represent you in a workers’ compensation claim or a more expansive pursuit of recovery after developing CRPS, we will assist you in every facet of the legal proceedings ahead of you. We’ll take time to learn as much as we can about you and how your injury has affected your life. We will carefully go over all the details of how your injury occurred and guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process. When you have grounds to seek further compensation through a Social Security Disability claim, we can assist you with this process as well.
Our firm also excels at handling difficult personal injury cases. If a third party is responsible for causing the injury that led to you developing CRPS, they are liable for the cost of managing your symptoms and for compensation for your pain and suffering. Our goal in every case we accept is to maximize our clients’ total recovery however possible. We have successfully represented many past clients in cases related to CRPS and know how damaging and disruptive this condition can be for you and your family.
It’s vital to start working toward recovery as soon as possible after your diagnosis. If you struggle with the symptoms of CRPS from a work-related injury, a Monroe CRPS lawyer is the best asset to have on your side. Contact Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler today to schedule your consultation with our firm and learn about the various legal services we can provide to help you recover as fully as possible.
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