Back in 2013, a really nice woman called us with what seemed like a relatively minor Illinois workers compensation case. She had hit her elbow on something on the job and originally it seemed like a relatively small bone bruise. I didn’t expect that the case would take six years to resolve. I also didn’t expect that she’d end up getting a major bout of RSD.
RSD or reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a chronic condition that causes burning, swelling, stiffness and/or skin sensitivity to whatever body part is affected by it. Nobody knows what exactly causes it, but it’s thought to be a malfunction of the nervous system. As happened in this case, it often occurs following some sort of trauma.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a synonym for RSD and they both don’t have a cure. Some physical or pain management therapy can make the pain tolerable.
Because you can’t see RSD and since treating it is expensive, insurance companies often dispute these cases. That’s what happened to this nice woman. Insurance companies have doctors for hire who will say that you weren’t really injured on the job or don’t have CRPS.
This woman was so severely affected by this issue that she is no longer able to work. It took years but eventually the attorney we referred her to was able to get her a settlement for around $550,000.00. This settlement included almost $200,000.00 for her future medical care.
What is scary about this case is that an inexperienced lawyer could have easily settled it right away. If your attorney doesn’t understand the medicine behind CRPS, they can not truly advocate for you as well as someone who has handled many of those cases.
Fortunately we know many lawyers who have had success with RSD cases and were able to connect her with one of them. This attorney told me that it was one of the most medically complex cases he had seen. Getting the right lawyer likely put hundreds of thousands more in her pocket than she would have received without it.
In any work comp case that is beyond a minor injury, it’s really important to get an attorney who handles these cases all day, every day. We see many firms who try to do workmans comp but also criminal law, divorce and other unrelated practice areas. It’s not that those law firms couldn’t do a good job. It’s that they don’t give you the best chance for success. And since all Illinois work comp attorneys get paid the same amount, why wouldn’t you want the best firm you can get?
As always, if you need help with a case or just have questions, please call us any time at 800-517-1614 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.