Proving the RSD/CRPS Case to an Adjuster or Jury
Many (most) lawyers are afraid to take on RSD/CRPS cases. That's a fact. This is probably because of several factors. For one, the injury can be 'invisible' because many people who suffer from CRPS never get the "mottled" blue or red color changes, skin, nail, hair changes or severe edema (swelling) enough to show a "side-by-side" comparison with the unaffected limb. Another reason is that there are still doctors ready, willing and able to sell an opinion to Defense lawyers, Insurance Companies and Corporations that "CRPS is controversial" (it's not), or that the patient's CRPS diagnosis is flawed because the doctor hasn't ruled out some other plausible diagnosis, or even that a treatment option included in the patients Life Care Plan won't help or, itself, is controversial. Finally, many lawyers are concerned that the mechanism of CRPS - where an ordinary and even minor trauma can result in horrible, lifetime pain - sounds too much like "voodoo" to be believed by a jury.
Well, I have handled scores of CRPS cases for clients and we have had several multi-million dollar verdicts on behalf of our clients who suffer from CRPS. I can tell you that there are many ways to de-mystify this otherwise mystifying disorder. These methods shouldn't come as a surprise to any lawyer with a catastrophic injury litigation practice, but they may help some of you who suffer from CRPS to understand that there is hope and yes, an adjuster or jury can be made to understand and believe in your CRPS.
Since our firm's inception, the Tyrone Law Firm's attorneys specializing in RSD and CRPS have provided clients throughout the United States and in Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Henry, Clayton, Forsyth, Hall, Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, and Rockdale County (and throughout Georgia) with dedicated legal representation. In fact, we have obtained the largest verdicts on behalf of clients suffering from CRPS in Georgia. In 2010, I obtained a $1.25 Million dollar verdict from a jury in a very conservative county in Georgia and an undisclosed settlement for punitive damages for a client who developed CRPS from a hot water burn. This was the largest jury verdict in Cobb County in 2010.
In May of 2012, myself and co-counsel Lloyd Bell obtained a 5.4 Million Dollar jury verdict on behalf of a husband who developed CRPS after a technician injured a nerve near his elbow with a needle during a blood draw. In that case, the wife recovered 2 Million Dollars for the loss of services, affection and support (called "loss of consortium" under the law) of her spouse. This was the largest verdict of its kind in Georgia history.
I have also settled cases on behalf of CRPS injury clients for insurance policy limits of six and seven figures. In fact, the Tyrone Law Firm is currently pursuing cases in Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee in which clients have been injured by hot water, gas explosions, Trucking collisions or Medical Negligence, and who now suffer from RSD/ CRPS.
In future blogs I will discuss several of the ways we have found to make CRPS "real" for an adjuster trying to settle the case or for a jury who must decide the case at trial.