According to The Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), chronic pain is defined as pain or discomfort that affects a person constantly or frequently for longer than three months. It is a pain that can be mild or severe and which is not improved by treating the cause or by attempting to relieve the chronic pain itself. The amount of impact that chronic pain has on a patient’s life can vary from minor to extremely severe, with some chronic pain cases resulting in complete loss of independence.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain symptoms often vary from person to person and can include the following:
- Shooting sensations in or around the affected area
- Feelings of tightness
The risk of developing chronic pain increases with age, with 53% of men and 59% of women over the age of 75 being affected by the condition.
Chronic pain causes can vary from person to person and may even occur spontaneously without any obvious cause. However, in most cases, chronic pain can develop as a result of being injured or suffering some kind of trauma, which could be something as minor as a muscle strain to something a lot more severe such as a broken bone. The body’s nervous system can remain active with pain signals for a significant amount of time even after an injury has fully healed.
Because chronic pain often develops a considerable amount of time after an injury has taken place, many people who suffer with this type of condition miss out on compensation that they would otherwise be eligible to receive. However, it is always worth discussing your case with a solicitor who specialises in this type of claim because you may find that you could still file a chronic pain claim for compensation if you can prove it is as a result of an injury you sustained in the workplace or due to the negligence of a third party.
Are There Any Health Issues Associated with Chronic Pain?
There are several health issues that are often associated with chronic pain. These are detailed below:
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) is serious and painful condition that occurs as a result of a malfunction in the body’s nervous system. RSD (also known as Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)) presents with severe chronic pain symptoms and can be caused by minor personal trauma. When injuries such as broken bones, soft tissue injuries, damaged nerves, sprains, bruises, falls or surgical procedures fail to heal as they should, you are at risk of experiencing extreme burning pain, inflammation, sensitivity to touch and severe pain in an affected area. Diagnosing RSD can often be challenging as it often occurs many months after the original injury has taken place
- Fibromyalgia symptoms often vary from person to person and presents itself with widespread chronic pain, an increased sensitivity to pain and muscle stiffness. Fibromyalgia can develop with no obvious cause or it can occur as a result of an injury, an example being an injury sustained from lifting a heavy item, a sudden movement or even a repetitive strain injury
- Myofascial pain negatively impacts the soft tissue in the body and can affect a single muscle or a muscle group. This kind of chronic pain typically causes symptoms such as muscle pain, spasms and tenderness. Most patients who experience myofascial pain do so as a result of injuries or strains to the muscles, tendons or ligaments they sustained
Do I Have a Valid Chronic Pain Claim?
If you have suffered an injury that left you having to cope with chronic pain, we can help you when it comes to seeking compensation for the pain, suffering and out of pocket expenses you had to endure through no fault of your own if the accident that left you injured occurred in the last three years.
The stress of being in constant, daily pain can significantly impact your life and your ability to due normal every day chores. It can also sometimes lead to depression, impairment, job loss and an ability to carry out the things you used to enjoy doing. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may be able to claim care cost because you are unable to do things around the home yourself and need someone to do this for you.
You may also be entitled to additional treatment which may be required as a result of the injury. This includes rehabilitation, physiotherapy and counselling. You may also claim for any loss of earnings if the injury has affected or negatively impacts your ability to work, providing you file a claim within the chronic pain claim time limit which is 3 years from the date you were in an accident that left you injured. Chronic pain compensation claims are often complex, and the amount of compensation varies from person to person because each chronic pain claim is treated as unique.
What Can I Include in a Chronic Pain Claim?
There are specific things that you can include if you are thinking of filing a chronic pain claim from a negligent employer which are detailed below:
- You can include any physical and/ or psychological pain and suffering which you experienced as a direct result of being involved in an accident or trauma in the workplace that left you suffering from chronic pain. The injury may mean that you are unable to work for either a short or longer period of time and may impact your ability to hold down a job in the future
- You can include any physical impairments that you experience as a result of your chronic pain
- You can also claim for loss of independence because you need help when carrying out daily chores and tasks around the home
- You can claim for loss of companionship, which includes damages for the loss of a relationship because of the chronic pain you have to endure
- You can claim for all the medical expenses (both short term and long term) you incur as a direct result of suffering from chronic pain following an accident in the workplace. This includes all medical fees and other expenses such as prescriptions costs, medication, hospital and other medical visits as well as any specialists tests you may need to undergo as part of your diagnosis and recovery
- You can includes all your travel costs which you incur as a direct result of your chronic pain. This includes the cost of travelling to and from hospitals, other medical facilities and anywhere else you visit for the treatments you need. This includes transport via car, bus, taxi or train
- You can includes all your loss of earnings, which includes any bonuses you may have missed as a direct result of being unable to work due to chronic pain symptoms you have to endure
- You can includes all your potential loss of earnings which includes the fact that you be unable to continue with your job or find an alternative career because of the chronic pain you have to cope with on a daily basis
Determining the amount you may be awarded is often easier with special damages than general damages as calculations are based on the actual out of pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result of suffering from chronic pain following an accident in the workplace.
Will I Win a Chronic Pain Claim Against My Employer?
In order to win a chronic pain claim and receive the level of compensation you rightly deserve following an accident at work that left you with a lot of pain, suffering and out of pocket expenses, you must be able to prove that the incident occurred through no fault of your own, but rather because of employer negligence. The evidence needed is as follows:
- That your employer failed in their duty of care to keep you safe in the workplace and that you suffered an injury as a direct result of their negligence
- The accident that left you injured and suffering from chronic pain, was caused by a work colleague in which case your employer may still be liable
It can sometimes be difficult to prove that the fault lies with the defendant which is why working with a solicitor who specialises in work-related chronic pain claims can help you through the process. A solicitor would work with you when it comes to gathering as much evidence as possible that the chronic pain you are experiencing happened through no fault of your own. The evidence you would need to provide when filing a chronic pain claim must include the following:
- Photographs of where the accident occurred
- Photographs of your initial injury or injuries
- Witness statements and their contact details
- Medical reports of your initial injury/injuries
- Medical reports of your ongoing pain
If you do not not have any evidence to put forward, a solicitor who specialises in chronic pain claims can offer advice on the best way to gather evidence after the injury has taken place.
Should I File a Chronic Pain Claim Against My Employer?
If you suffer from chronic pain due to your employer failing to keep you safe from harm and injury in the workplace, your ability to work and quality of life could be negatively impacted. Depending on the severity of your chronic pain, you may struggle to work in the future, and you could experience financial difficulties as a result of not being able to find employment because of the chronic pain you have to endure.
By filing a personal injury chronic pain claim against a negligent employer, you could be awarded a sum of money to help pay bills. It is worth noting that under UK law, all employers must have insurance for this type of eventuality. As such, the compensation you may be awarded in a successful chronic pain claim would be paid by your employer’s insurance and would not be taken out of business profits.
Will I Lose My Job For Filing a Chronic Pain Claim?
By law, your employer cannot terminate your contract of employment for filing a compensation claim against them. If your employer fires you for no “good reason” because you seek compensation for an injury that left you suffering from chronic pain, you may be entitled to file an unfair dismissal claim against them on top of a personal injury claim.
Most employers realise that by firing you could create further problems for them, as such unless there is a very good reason for them firing you because you are considering filing a chronic pain claim against them, your job is secure.
Can I Work With a Solicitor on a No Win, No Fee On a Chronic Pain Claim?
Most solicitors offer an initial consultation free of charge which allows them the opportunity of assessing your case. Once a solicitor feels you have a strong chronic pain claim against a negligent employer, they would offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis taking all the worry of finding the money to pay for legal representation when you need it most out of the equation. You would be required to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which sets out the Terms and Conditions of this legal contract.
The CFA would also set out the percentage you would have to pay on a successful chronic pain claim which is often referred to as a “success fee” because should your claim not be successful, you would have nothing to pay the solicitor for the legal services they provided. The percentage you pay on a successful chronic pain claim would be deducted from the amount of compensation a court awards you or from the amount that your employer’s insurers agree to pay you should they decide to settle “out of court”.