If a patient develops complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) from the negligence of a medical professional, he or she may be eligible to file an RSD lawsuit. Before an RSD lawsuit can be filed, the patient must determine if he or she has a valid and legitimate case. Due to the often misunderstood nature of RSD, filing an RSD lawsuit may be more difficult than other medical malpractice cases.
In many cases, the exact cause of the patient’s RSD is unknown. This can make it virtually impossible to pinpoint whether or not a medical professional’s negligence was the cause of the condition. Additionally,the complexity of the condition may complicate the litigation process. RSD patients are highly encouraged to obtain an RSD lawyer to help determine if he or she has a case. An RSD lawyer can also help gather necessary information and guide patients during the legal process.
Burden of Proof – CRPS Cases
The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff, or the individual who chooses to file a lawsuit. This means that the plaintiff must provide adequate evidence to prove that the harm was caused by the defendant, or the individual who is being sued. This can be difficult in RSD or CRPS cases where it is unclear which specific event led to the development of the patient’s CRPS.
In order to have a legitimate RSD case, the plaintiff should be able to prove:
• The experience and expertise of the defendant—typically that they are a practicing doctor or
other medical professional
• Comparative or sole responsibility in cases where the injury was caused by more than one party
• Whether or not the plaintiff’s injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s actions
• How and where the accident occurred
Proving Medical Negligence
Another difficulty during an RSD lawsuit is the process of proving that the plaintiff’s injury was caused by negligence or medical malpractice, as opposed to unavoidable complications. A main standard for this process is comparison to other medical professionals of similar specialization, qualification, and experience. The plaintiff must prove that the incidence in question would not have resulted in the development of RSD if performed by similarly qualified medical professionals.
After proving that the defendant is the cause of the condition, proving that the plaintiff has RSD is one of the most challenging aspects of an RSD lawsuit. Often, the defense may allege that the patient did not develop RSD. The defendant may argue that the plaintiff suffered pain from a different incident that occurred separately or before the incident in question.
The plaintiff should be prepared to present his or her medical records in order to substantiate the claim that he or she developed RSD or CRPS. It is recommended that the patient visit an experienced doctor who specializes in pain management. Pain management professionals are better suited for diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions such as RSD or CRPS.
Triple Phase Bone Scan
One of the best testing procedures for diagnosing true RSD or CRPS is called a triple phase bone scan. A
triple phase bone scan involves injection of a special dye into the patient’s body. The dye is attracted to
certain areas with excessive bone resorption. Excessive bone resorption is a common symptom of RSD
and another condition called osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis can then be ruled out with a blood screen.
Hiring an RSD Lawyer
An RSD lawyer should be hired in order to determine whether or not the patient has a case. It is not recommended that any RSD or CRPS patient attempts to represent him or herself in an RSD lawsuit. Filing an RSD lawsuit can be a difficult and complex process.A knowledgeable and experienced RSD lawyer can help navigate the circumstances of each plaintiff’s case. An RSD lawyer can also help the plaintiff collect the necessary information for filing a case and providing sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt.
“Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
National Institutes of Health, 12 Jul 2013. Web. 7 Aug 2013.
Crick, BC, et al. “Lawsuit verdicts and settlements involving reflex sympathetic dystrophy and complex
regional pain syndrome.” Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances. 20.3 (2011): 153-157. Print.