Long-Term Disability Claims Attorneys for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

If you suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), to such an extent that you cannot work, contact the attorneys at Abell and Capitan Law so we can help you file a long-term disability benefits claim or appeal a denied claim on your behalf.

CRPS/RSD is a rare but often debilitating disorder that typically occurs after a trauma, surgery, stroke, or a heart attack. The condition usually affects one or more limbs, like arms and legs. In some cases, CRPS in one limb can spread to another.

Cases can last for months or years. Sometimes the symptoms resolve on their own. Early treatment also increases the chances of a positive outcome. In worst-case scenarios, the condition may become permanent, resulting in a lifelong inability to work.

Because this condition is rare and difficult to diagnose, it may be especially difficult to successfully file a disability claim against your insurance company for CRPS/RSD. That’s why you should call the experienced long-term disability attorneys at Abell and Capitan Law today for a free consultation and to discuss your options.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) has two forms: acute (short-term) and chronic, or long-term, that lasts more than six months. The most common symptom is unexplained limb pain and inflammation following trauma, such as an injury or surgery. The trauma usually occurs in the affected limb. Nerves that carry pain messages to the brain are not functioning properly, causing excessive pain and inflammation instead of healing. In some cases, it is easy to identify the nerve causing the issue, but in other cases, that is difficult.

Some common symptoms of a CRPS-affected limb include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Throbbing pain or burning sensation
  • Limb swelling and prolonged pain after using the affected limb
  • Limb stiffness
  • Muscle impairment – spasms, weakness, or lack of coordination
  • Skin changes, such as color, temperature, and texture – e.g., skin may appear “shiny”
  • Sweating abnormalities – excessive or non-existent
  • Changes in the way hair and nails grow on limb – excessive or no growth

These symptoms are not necessarily consistent over time. Some may subside, or you may experience new ones. The better your overall health, particularly your nerve health, the greater your odds are of a full recovery. Women seem to suffer from CRPS/RSD more than men. It is more common in adults than in children or elderly individuals.

RSD is actually a type (Type 1) of CRPS in which the nerve or nerves are not directly damaged. In Type 2, which used to be referred to as causalgia, doctors are able to specify the affected nerve. Symptoms of RSD can be more subtle and thus overlooked. Increasingly, the term “CRPS” is used interchangeably with RSD, and “RSD” is used less and less often.

Applying for Long-term Disability with Your Employer

If you become disabled from CRPS/RSD, contact your employer to see if you can file a claim for benefits against the disability insurance your employer offers. There is not a specific diagnostic test to confirm CRPS/RSD, so doctors use a variety of diagnostic tools such as ultrasounds and bone scans to rule out other causes and obtain a CRPS/RSD diagnosis. Often, several specialists will be involved, such as neurologists and orthopedists. You will need to have the results of these examinations and tests available to file with your disability insurance claim as proof of this rare condition.

If you cannot return to work due to CRPS/RSD, ask your employer for an application for benefits. The earlier you can complete the application and send it in, the sooner you will be able to receive compensation for lost wages. Once you apply, you will have to wait through an elimination period before you receive your first disability payment. Depending on your policy, this waiting period is usually 90 days but can be shorter or longer.

Keep all of your diagnostic and treatment records, including records of any prescriptions you are taking, so that you have proof of your CRPS/RSD disability. Insurance companies do not want to pay out benefits, and particularly with a rare disorder such as CRPS/RSD, you should be particularly diligent in your record-keeping. If the insurance company has a chance to deny your claim, they will.

Benefits You Might Qualify for Under Long-term Disability Insurance

You may qualify for long-term disability benefits if you are unable to work at your current job or, in some situations, your CRPS/RSD makes it impossible for you to work at any job at all. If the insurance company approves your benefits claim, you can receive compensation for lost wages. Usually, the minimum period benefits are paid is for two years, provided you’re unable to work for the entire period. In some cases you can receive compensation until your retirement, when Social Security benefits would take over. The average pay-out period is three years.

When you start receiving benefits, you must continue your treatment for the benefits to continue. Continue to keep your treatment records as evidence of your long-term disability that prevents you from working. If and when you are able to return to work or get other employment, you will stop receiving your long-term disability benefit payments.

If you applied for benefits and were denied, you should contact Abell and Capitan Law at once for a free consultation and hire one of our experienced attorneys to handle your appeal. In order to ask the insurance company to reconsider your claim for long-term disability benefits, you need to submit new evidence for them to consider when making their final decision. At Abell and Capitan Law, we know what new evidence to gather that will be the most effective, including statements from medical personnel, employment experts, family, and co-workers.

You should be able to focus on your recovery and treatment without adding the stress of dealing with a big insurance company. We can help with that.

Contact Abell and Capitan Law

Having a challenging condition like CRPS/RSD can be frightening and stressful. Dealing with pain on a daily basis makes it even harder. Let the attorneys at Abell and Capitan Law help you. We don’t get paid until we get benefits for you. Give us a call today at (267) 419-7888 for your free consultation.

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