Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Claims

Some people experience lasting and intense pain in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. Though frequently the subject of attack by insurance defense counsel on the basis that the symptoms appear disproportionate to the severity of the crash or the nature of the injuries, such medical conditions as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) are anything but imaginary or psychosomatic.

Because the intensity of the discomfort suffered by people with CRPS or RSD is hard to explain in terms of the trauma suffered, people who experience the symptoms of a chronic pain syndrome can have trouble getting their complaints taken seriously. For this reason, you may encounter difficulty when you present your compensation claim to ICBC.

BC Lawyers for Chronic Pain Injury Claims

Your personal injury team at Murphy Battista knows that chronic pain conditions such as CRPS or RSD can be identified against standard diagnostic criteria, and we ensure that the right tests are administered before ruling out the possibility that these conditions are present. Recognized symptoms include severe and continuing pain with markedly increased skin temperature present in the affected area.

Our ability to present properly documented medical evidence of a chronic pain condition and relate its cause to a particular traumatic accident can help you get the treatment you need. It can also protect the value of a compensation claim before ICBC or a private insurer, depending on the circumstances of your accident.

To work with lawyers who know how to evaluate and investigate chronic pain conditions such as CRPS or RSD, contact Murphy Battista for a free consultation.

Evaluating and Presenting Claims for Pain That Is Difficult to Diagnose

Fibromyalgia is a controversial diagnosis for explaining chronic pain that lasts longer or is more intense than one would typically expect from the nature of the injuries or trauma suffered in an accident. Medical science has yet to develop a consensus as to the causes or most effective treatments for fibromyalgia.

In cases involving fibromyalgia or chronic pain syndrome, it is not uncommon for ICBC or other insurers to resist payment for claims related to fibromyalgia without proper documentation and qualified expert testimony that supports the injury claim and relates its cause to the accident in question. The personal injury lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have extensive experience with the investigation and proof of chronic pain claims as an element of damages in accident compensation cases.

Vancouver Chronic Pain Syndrome Lawyers

Our law firm works with people throughout British Columbia and Western Canada to help chronic pain sufferers discover the causes of their problems, get access to the most effective treatments available, and recover compensation for any continuing pain problems that we can prove resulted from the negligence of someone else.

In fibromyalgia cases, this sequence of proof is usually difficult and always met with stiff resistance. Nevertheless, our experience with the proof of damages covers the difficult and disputed claims as well as the easy ones. Even more important than the chance to recover compensation, however, is the opportunity to work with an outstanding legal and medical team to find answers to your questions about what to do for chronic and debilitating pain, fatigue and discomfort.

For additional information about the ways our lawyers can help people who suspect that their chronic problems with fibromyalgia or other pain disorders resulted from a motor vehicle accident or other form of negligence, contact Murphy Battista for a free consultation.

Insights

Chronic Pain: Family and Friends Matter

October 19, 2015

Keri Grenier may be new to Murphy Battista LLP’s Kelowna office but she’s been helping injured clients deal with issues like chronic pain for many years. Keri’s latest INJURYwise column, “The Chronic Pain Effect,” addresses the compensation available for injured people suffering from chronic pain and the seeming anomaly that…

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Proud to Support Pain BC

September 16, 2016

Murphy Battista LLP is proud to be sponsoring three upcoming webinars presented by Pain BC. Pain BC webinars are updated monthly and led by clinicians who deal with topics relevant to people suffering with the burden of chronic pain. Pain BC is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that seeks to reduce…

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Trial Results

Disclaimer: The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.

Raj Dewar and Kevin Hyde were counsel for a 34 –year-old third generation stonemason who sustained injuries to his neck and right shoulder in two motor vehicle collisions. ICBC denied fault for both collisions until 2 days before the start of trial. The Plaintiff proceeded to trial and was awarded compensation for his injuries and losses in the amount of $673,770 plus costs and disbursements. The Plaintiff was also awarded double costs from the time of his formal offer to settle, beating ICBC’s formal offer to settle by over half a million dollars. The oral reasons included damages for $130,000 for pain and suffering, $98,600 for future care, and $395,000 for loss of earning capacity.

Stephen Gibson and Scott Stanley acted for the plaintiff who had his ICBC claim dismissed as a result of the negligence of another lawyer at another firm. They were successful at trial, and the plaintiff was awarded damages of $175,000 against his former lawyer. Before coming to Stephen and Scott, the plaintiff had consulted with 46 lawyers who all refused to take the case. This is an example of the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP taking the necessary steps, that other lawyers cannot do or will not take, when it is in best interests of an injured person.

John M. Cameron and Paul Bosco acted for Mr. Niessen, who was the sole proprietor of a plumbing-and-heating company. Mr. Niessen sustained significant injuries (head, neck, and lower back) when his vehicle was struck by a vehicle that crossed the centre line of a highway and these injuries affected all areas of his life. The main issue at trial was the degree to which Mr. Niessen’s ability to earn income had suffered as a result of his injuries. ICBC took the position that there was a lack of documented evidence to support this loss. However, the court accepted Mr. Cameron and Mr. Bosco’s arguments that Mr. Niessen’s history of skill and ability in his industry, his business records, and the witness called on his behalf including former co-workers and customers, all were sufficient to prove that a significant loss had occurred. In the end, the Court awarded over $840,000 for this loss of earning potential. Overall, the court awarded Mr. Niessen just over $1.2 million, which was almost triple the amount the insurance company had argued Mr. Niessen deserved.

Stephen Gibson, Scott Stanley, and Brandon Souza acted for the plaintiff who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury that rendered her an incomplete quadriplegic. The plaintiff, an engineer, was driving across train tracks at a passive crossing when a train collided with the right side of her vehicle. The court found that Canadian National Railway Company was aware of insufficient sight lines and the dangerous nature of the specific railway crossing for many years prior to the accident and took no actions to ameliorate those risks. Despite the Plaintiff’s failure to stop at a stop sign at the railway crossing, Canadian National Railway Company was still found 60% at fault for the accident. The court awarded approximately $3,200,000 in damages.

Jeff Nieuwenburg acted for the plaintiff on an appeal regarding a finding of contributory negligence on her part and failure to mitigate her damages. The appeal was successful in part with the court finding there was no evidence that the plaintiff failed to follow a treatment, that would have decreased her damages and the failure to mitigate finding was set aside. In the result, this meant that the plaintiff was entitled to recoup the 75% reduction that had been applied to her damages award for failure to mitigate.

Veronic Medved and Tara Chandler acted for a Plaintiff who was only 23 years old at the time of the collision. After T-boning the Defendant (who was found 100% responsible for the collision), the Plaintiff developed a traumatic lesion on her spine and chronic pain condition which disabled her from gainful employment. The Court awarded damages in the amount of $1,885,000, including $185,000 for pain and suffering and $1,297,146 in future income loss. Although her working history was short, the Court accepted that as a single mom, the Plaintiff was very attached to the workforce and would have worked on a full-time basis to the age of 70 without voluntary withdrawal.

In QP v. Bolton, Alex Sayn-Wittgenstein and Paul Bosco acted for an RCMP officer who was significantly injured in the course of his duties. The court accepted their arguments that his life was significantly impacted as a result of his injuries, he missed out on earning overtime income, his opportunity for advancement in his career may be limited, and that his wife was entitled to compensation for the care she provided by way of an in trust claim. The court also accepted their argument that he and his employer should be compensated for the time he missed from work, despite having been paid by his employer for this time, finding that it would be unfair to let the wrongdoer benefit from the generosity of the employer.

Scott Stanley and Brandon Souza acted for the plaintiff in this case involved physical and psychological injuries sustained by a 49 year-old pedestrian on a sidewalk when a driver lost control while attempting to park, drove onto the sidewalk, and pinned the pedestrian against a wall. The pedestrian required three surgeries and had significant limitations with work as a teaching assistant and day-to-day living. The court awarded $1,064,682.07.

Kevin Gourlay and Paul Bosco acted for a 46-year-old tradesman who sustained injuries to his head, neck and back in a head-on collision. The plaintiff also claimed compensation for psychological injuries. He was initially denied benefits by ICBC who said that it was a WCB issue. Having overcome that defence, the plaintiff proceeded to trial and recovered damages of $724,000, including $150,000 for pain and suffering and $400,000 for lost earning capacity.

AT was a man who worked in the funeral services industry and who suffered serious back pain and spasms after a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately this chronic pain eventually led to the loss of his career. John M. Cameron of Murphy Battista assisted Mr. David Kolb of Kolb Law Corporation and together they represented AT in a trial in BC Supreme Court. AT achieved an award for compensation of $586,000 which was four times more than ICBC’s best pre-trial offer. AT was awarded $110,000.00 for pain and suffering, $108,000 for diminished earning capacity up to trial, $320,000 for loss of future earnings, and $45,000 for the costs of future medical care.

Scott Stanley was co-counsel in defending a plaintiff against an appeal of a successful judgment of $515,057 which was awarded to the plaintiff for soft tissue injuries and chronic pain. The Defendants challenged the awards for past and future loss of earning capacity arguing these could not be justified on the facts and were not adequately explained in the reasons for judgment by the trial judge. The BC Court of appeal dismissed the appeal and let the judgment stand.

Brian Brooke and Jeffrey Nieuwenburg represented a plaintiff, who was 19 at the time, who was injured while riding as a passenger in a friend’s vehicle when the vehicle left the roadway and rolled. She sustained compression fractures to her thoracic vertebrae and a closed head injury. As a result of these injuries, the plaintiff developed a chronic pain condition and was unable to pursue her dreams of becoming a registered nurse. At trial, the defendant was found wholly responsible for the accident. The plaintiff was awarded damages of approximately $1.4 million.

Raj Dewar acted for the Plaintiff – a 34 year old administrative assistant – who suffered injuries to her neck and mid-back when she was rear-ended in a collision. ICBC agreed the other driver was at fault and admitted that the injuries the Plaintiff suffered were as a result of the collision. However, ICBC refused the Plaintiff’s offer to settle her claim and forced her to go to trial. At trial, the judge awarded $70,986.35 in compensation for her injuries and double costs against ICBC as the Plaintiff had been prepared to resolve her case for less than what the judge awarded her.

Bill Dick and Keri Grenier acted for a plaintiff who was 17 years old when she was struck in a crosswalk by a pickup truck driven by the defendant. The plaintiff’s principal issues following the injury included ongoing dizziness, headaches, anxiety and depression. At issue was whether the plaintiff suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, and whether her ongoing complaints were related to the accident or to other psychosocial stressors in her life as alleged by ICBC. After a two week trial the Court awarded damages totalling $347,581. The judgment included damages for loss of future earning capacity of $175,000.

John Cameron and Brandon Souza acted for A.B., a 37-year-old professional resume writer who was injured in a rear-end motor vehicle accident.  The accident left her with significant ongoing pain in her neck along with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder. Her symptoms limited her ability to work and grow her business as she had prior to the accident.  After a 3-week trial, the Court awarded damages totaling $352,000, plus costs.  The judgment included damages for the plaintiff’s future lost earning capacity of $170,000. Prior to trial ICBC’s best offer was only half of the compensation which A.B eventually received.

Joe Murphy, Q.C., Kevin Gourlay, and Mike Murphy acted for the plaintiff who was 16 when he was hit by a young woman who was not paying attention while driving on Halloween night in 2008. He suffered a significant traumatic brain injury. Before the accident, he had been an exceptionally gifted young man. Although he remained intelligent and was attending university, he was plagued by fatigue and cognitive difficulties as a result of the accident that would significantly impact his ability to work as an engineer. The Court assessed damages at $3,297,000, including $3M for loss of future earning capacity.

Alex Sayn-Wittgenstein and Paul Bosco represented an 83 year-old plaintiff who sustained life-threatening injuries, including a brain injury and various fractures, when he was struck by a vehicle while standing at a bus stop. ICBC denied liability but court found that the driver’s testimony was “littered with enormous credibility issues.” The driver, who had fled the accident scene, was found fully at fault. The plaintiff was awarded over $800,000 at trial, including $315,000 for pain and suffering, over $400,000 for future care, and $55,000 in-trust for the care provided by his wife during his recovery.  Due to the plaintiff’s age and injuries, the case was brought to trial quickly, with the trial judgment being made less than 2 years after the accident.

Kevin Gourlay was counsel for a 44-year-old general contractor who was injured in two rear-end motor vehicle accidents. The accidents left him with significant ongoing pain in his neck and back that limited his ability to work as he had prior to the accidents. After a 5-day trial, the Court awarded damages totalling $468,365, plus costs. The judgment included damages for the plaintiff’s future lost earning capacity of $285,845.

Kevin Gourlay acted for a massage therapist who sustained soft tissue injuries to her back in left-turn accident. The defendant argued that our client was wholly or partially at fault for the accident. Chief Justice Hinkson found the defendant to be entirely at fault for causing the accident and awarded damages totalling $373,424. This included $190,000 for lost earning capacity as the plaintiff’s injuries would likely affect her future career as a medical doctor.

Scott Stanley and Kevin Gourlay acted for the plaintiff, an emergency room doctor who sustained a concussion when he was rear-ended by a bus. Sadly, he was among the unlucky and statistically small minority of individuals who suffer long-term disabling symptoms as a result of a concussion. That concussion prevented him from being able to return to the practice of medicine.
Result: After a 29-day trial, he received judgment of just under $6,000,000 for damages, primarily resulting from his lost earning capacity as a doctor.

This was a related case to the case involving police officer EJ, noted above. In addition to obtaining compensation at trial for EJ’s injuries. EJ was also awarded compensation for approximately $10,000 of “sick bank” credits he had used while off work recovering from his injuries. ICBC appealed the decision regarding the sick bank credits but the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and confirmed that ICBC was required to reimburse EJ for the loss of the credits.

YW an elderly woman, fell and broke her hip when a bus driver accelerated into traffic without waiting for her to be safely seated. The transit company refused to accept responsibility and offered her $1.00 to settle her case prior to trial. Mr. Cameron took the matter to trial in the BC Supreme Court and YW was eventually awarded over $100,000 in damages.

KPW was a construction worker who injured his back in a motor vehicle accident. Prior to trial ICBC was prepared to offer him only $42,000 for his injuries and the impact on his employment. Mr. Cameron took the matter to the BC Supreme Court and KPW was eventually awarded over $120,000 in damages for his injuries and lost earnings.

Mr. Cameron represented EJ, a Vancouver police officer, who sustained injuries to his back and neck after his patrol car was rammed by a suspect in a stolen vehicle. EJ’s injuries compromised some of the overtime opportunities available to him in the police. Mr. Cameron represented EJ at trial in BC Supreme Court. Prior to the trial ICBC offered EJ $50,000. EJ was awarded over $120,000 at trial.

The Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. She was ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia. At trial she was represented by David Kolb and Mr. Cameron. The trial judge awarded significant damages for diminished earning capacity despite the Plaintiff having been diligent and not missing any work up to the time of trial.
ICBC appealed arguing that the Judge erred in awarding these damages because the judge relied on “common experience that a person with a stable but persistent energy-draining (missing something) ICBC argued that this was speculative and there was no evidence to suggest this is so. While the Plaintiff’s total damages were reduced slightly at the appeal to $475,000, the BC Court of Appeal was quick to dismiss the above argument finding it was simply a matter of common sense that chronic pain takes its toll. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:[41] Accepting that, to use the expression used at trial and at the hearing of this appeal, Ms. Morlan’s condition had “plateaued”, the fact remains that she would forever suffer from debilitating chronic pain along with headaches, symptoms that could be reduced, but not eliminated, by medication. In other words, throughout each and every day of her life, Ms. Morlan would have to cope with some level of discomfort. In my view, it was open to the trial judge to find—essentially as a matter of common sense—that constant and continuous pain takes its toll and that, over time, such pain will have a detrimental effect on a person’s ability to work, regardless of what accommodations an employer is prepared to make.The Plaintiff was represented at trial by Mr. David Kolb and Mr. Cameron. Her appeal was conducted by Mr. Kolb, Mr. Cameron and senior appeal counsel, Mr. Barry Fraser.

We acted for a young architect who was injured in two motor vehicle accidents. The other drivers in each accident admitted that they were at fault but challenged the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. The court accepted that the plaintiff had suffered serious long-term soft tissue injuries in the accidents and awarded damages of over $190,000. That included awards of $70,000 for pain and suffering and $90,000 for lost earning capacity.

This was an application regarding costs following a 29-day trial in which the plaintiff had been awarded nearly $6,000,000 in damages following a fall at a night club that had resulted in a mild traumatic brain injury. The court concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to her costs from the defendant insurer despite the insurer not being obligated to indemnify the plaintiff for her losses.

KD was a university student who was injured when a vehicle she was riding in was struck by a stolen car. Her injuries affected her work as a lifeguard at the university pool and persisted after graduation as she entered the workforce. Prior to obtaining Mr. Cameron’s help she was advised that her case was a soft tissue injury, which ICBC valued at $6,500. Her case eventually went to trial and she was awarded over $100,000 in compensation.

CM was 46 years of age when involved in two motor vehicle accidents. She had worked steadily for 30 years before the accidents and had been very healthy. She was a high energy, motivated individual in all aspects of her life before the accidents. After the accidents she had to seek employment in a less demanding job and leaving a job she loved was a huge blow for her. After the accidents she was a different woman. Her energy was very low compared to what it was before. She developed fibromyalgia and was in constant pain, made endurable by taking large amounts of painkillers and nerve block drugs. ICBC offered to settle her case for $150,000 before trial. Mr. Cameron assisted Mr. David Kolb and took CM’s case to trial, where she was awarded $610,000 in damages.

Jury trial involving a 50-year-old mechanic from Lebanon who had immigrated to Vancouver in 1990. He was injured in two motor vehicle accidents which resulted in a herniated disc in his back. That injury prevented him from being able to work as he had previously. The defendants denied that the plaintiff had ongoing disabilities arising from the accidents. After a three-week trial in front of a jury, the jury awarded Mr. Kassem damages of $544,166, including $490,000 for lost earning capacity.

IV was injured in two accidents. The damage to the vehicles was modest, but she suffered injuries to her neck, back and hips which did not improve. ICBC told IV that in their view her accidents were too minor to deserve any compensation. IV’s injuries persisted in spite of medical treatment by her family doctor and other therapy, and over time her condition deteriorated. Even though IV had health problems before the accidents, it was clear to her that the two car accidents had made her overall health much worse. Mr. Cameron represented IV in a trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The Court awarded IV more than $230,000 in damages plus compensation for the legal costs of fighting her case.

Joe Murphy, Q.C. represented the plaintiff who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury at a night club. The plaintiff had been about to start a legal career at the time of the accident. The court awarded $5,934,712 for the loss of a career that ended before it began.

Years after her car was T-boned by a vehicle which had run a stop sign, SB still suffered from back and hip pain. Deeming ICBC’s offer of $10,000 in compensation as insufficient, SB took her case to Mr. Cameron, who brought the case to trial and helped her secure seven times that number in damages.

Scott Stanley and Irina Kordic acted for the plaintiff in this proceeding involving a motor vehicle accident that occurred on October 8, 2003. The Plaintiff was struck from behind by another vehicle and alleged that he sustained a concussion and soft tissue injuries. The Plaintiff alleged that he experienced permanent cognitive and physical symptoms as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.

The Defendant denied that the Plaintiff sustained a concussion and further denied that he had an permanent cognitive or physical symptoms as a result of the accident.

The Plaintiff’s case went to trial on April 14, 2009 and was heard by a Judge and Jury.

The Jury awarded the Plaintiff $638,000 damages.

AF injured her back in a motor vehicle accident prior to becoming a police officer. Her injuries affected her training at the Police Academy and also limited some of the overtime opportunities available to her in the police. Mr. Cameron assisted another lawyer, Mr. David Kolb, in conducting a trial for A. in B.C. Supreme Court. Prior to the trial ICBC offered AF $15,000. AF was awarded over $85,000 at trial.

SR, a police officer, suffered injuries to his hips and lower back when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident while off-duty. His accident occurred while he was trying to cross a highway and was struck by another vehicle. A key issue in the case was who was at fault for the accident. ICBC took the position that SR was to blame for the accident. Mr. Cameron assisted SR at trial and the other driver was found to be 90% to blame for the accident. SR received over $125,000 in damages for his injuries.

JC was a fit young man whose knees were injured in a motor vehicle accident. Prior to consulting Mr. Cameron he had been offered $5,000 in compensation for his injuries. Mr. Cameron represented JC at trial and he was awarded over $45,000 in damages.

CL was a fit and active real estate agent who was injured when his vehicle was rear-ended. Prior to retaining John M. Cameron Law Corporation he was offered $10,000 in compensation by ICBC. The matter eventually went to trial and Mr. Cameron assisted CL in obtaining a damage award in excess of $75,000.

NG was a Starbucks barista who was injured when her vehicle was rear-ended. ICBC denied her any compensation on the basis of its low velocity impact program. Mr. Cameron took on her case and by the time of trial NG had become an RCMP officer. NG was awarded over $25,000 in compensation by the Court.

DH was a waitress/bartender who injured her knee in a motor vehicle accident. Prior to retaining John M. Cameron Law Corporation, she was offered a $500 settlement for what ICBC described as a minor soft tissue injury. Her case eventually went to trial and she was awarded over $65,000 in compensation. Mr. Cameron successfully proved that DH was also entitled to compensation for lost tips even though there were no formal records of the tips maintained at her work place.

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