Slip and fall in parking garage leads to complex regional pain syndrome: $850,000 workers’ compensation settlement

When it comes to workers’ compensation, no injury is too small to notice. In this case, what started out as a seemingly minor work-related injury evolved into a life-altering chronic disease process known as complex regional pain syndrome.

The Pottenger Law Firm client was on her way to work when she slipped on a spot of oil in her employer’s parking garage. She was originally diagnosed with a microfracture of the patella and underwent surgery. After surgery, her symptoms continued to get worst. She unfortunately developed pain, temperature changes, and skin discoloration in her lower extremities. Her pain grew to a level that was excruciating.

She was originally diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome by a physician who was selected by the workers’ compensation insurer. Thereafter, the insurance company attempted to send her to other providers to obtain a different diagnosis. We blocked the carrier’s efforts to “doctor-shop,” and their efforts to escape the diagnosis of this terrible disease.

CRPS is a controversial diagnosis. In most cases, it will develop after a traumatic event. Experts believe that CRPS is a result of dysfunction in the nervous system or a disrupted healing process. Patients have extreme pain and sensitivity to contact in the affected area. However, because the disease is not well-understood and the literature is mixed, insurance companies dig in to fight these cases with all of their resources.

In this particular case, the client ended up being treated by a highly knowledgeable and sympathetic physician. He prescribed numerous cutting edge treatments to help our client cope with the debilitating effects of CRPS. Our lawyers were able to cajole the worker’s compensation carrier into providing this. Ultimately, the treatment therapies were able to help the client cope with her debilitating pain.

We were able to settle the case for $850,000. The settlement allowed the client to pay for her future medical needs and also to modify her home to accommodate her disability.

If you’re hurt in a work-related accident—no matter how minor—it’s crucial for your own protection to report it to your employer promptly. Disclose any secondary injuries or symptoms that resulted from the accident too. You never know if a minor injury will turn into a major problem later.