Symptoms and treatments for chronic pain syndrome, and whether it’s covered under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws
Pain comes in many forms, such as an ache, a burn, a tingle or prick. It is usually a signal by your nervous system that something may be wrong. Pain is also subjective; everyone feels it differently depending on the cause of the pain and your psychological and physiological makeup.
But did you know you may be able to receive workers’ compensation for certain types of pain?
The 2 main types of pain are acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is mostly a signal that you have been injured or have a problem that needs to be treated. Chronic pain, on the other hand, may last for weeks, months or years, and may have resulted from an injury or infection.
Statistics show more than 1.5 billion people around the world experience chronic pain.
Types of chronic pain
There are 2 common types of chronic pain caused by work-related duties that you need to understand in order to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a severe and incapacitating condition that occurs as the nervous system responds to trauma. It may be caused by mild or severe injuries. Also, it can develop after injuries heal, or due to a heart attack or stroke. CRPS pain manifests in the limbs whether the injury involved a limb or not. The symptoms include unexplained pain and heightened sensitivity to pressure, touch, heat and pain.
Chronic pain syndrome (CPS)
Chronic pain syndrome is chronic pain experienced for at least 12 weeks, which combines secondary complications that mostly intensify the original pain. These secondary complications include:
- Sleeping problems
- Financial problems caused by job loss
- Emotional distress that may be displayed as fear, anxiety, numbness, depression, and irritability
Chronic pain may also impact your personal life and relationships, generating a vicious cycle that interferes with your normal routine plus hinders your quality of life.
Common causes of work-related chronic pain
There are many causes for work-related chronic pain, and some have a diagnosis while others do not. The causes may be physical or mental. Some examples include:
- Psychogenic pain caused by injury or disease
- Neurogenic pain from nerve damage
- Extreme and prolonged muscle strains
- Occupational illnesses like cancer and arthritis
- Repetitive postures and movements
Treatment options for occupational chronic pain
The main goal of treatment for CPS is to reduce discomfort and pain, plus boost mobility. Because chronic pain is recognized as a medical condition, it can be treated using medications, psychotherapy, surgery, acupuncture and local electrical stimulation. For some people, behavior modification, biofeedback and meditation therapies work to solve the problem.
Does workers’ compensation cover chronic pain in Georgia?
Although evaluating pain may be problematic, it can’t be dismissed. In Georgia, workers suffering from chronic pain caused by employment are entitled to Georgia workers’ compensation benefits.
In 2009, approximately $1.5 billion was paid for workers’ compensation benefits, and the number keeps rising.
In Georgia, you can file a CRPS workers’ comp settlement claim under the catastrophic designation because of its permanence and ability to cause constant pain. The compensation is meant to alleviate the worker’s suffering and may reimburse the employee for the financial loss due to job loss, lost productivity, missed workdays and medical expenses.
How to file a worker’s injury claim in Georgia
To begin the process, report the injury to your supervisor or employer as soon as you get a diagnosis. The employer must then provide you with information on the company’s workers’ compensation policies. They should also refer you to several physicians who should conduct further diagnosis and treatment.
Proceed to file a work injury claim. Remember, the state of Georgia limits the time an injured worker needs to file a claim to 1 year after the date of injury. Consider hiring a skilled workers’ compensation attorney so that you may be well represented and boost your chances of getting fair and full compensation.
Obstacles when filing a compensation claim
Although it is an employee’s responsibility to be cautious while at work, it is equally the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment. In some cases, employers and insurance companies may deny compensation claims occasioning from certain situations, such as:
- When another employee caused the injury for personal reasons.
- When the injury is due to misconduct, such as drunkenness.
- When the employer lacks sufficient insurance coverage.
- When the insurance company fails to recognize the injury as one that qualifies for benefits.
- When the employer’s physician denies the existence of chronic pain.
An experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can help you overcome these obstacles that unwilling insurers and employers may use to their advantage. Also, we will help you appeal denied claims. We can also help you manage all the necessary paperwork, adhere to strict deadlines and ensure there are no mistakes when reporting the injury.
Are you looking for an experienced Georgia workers’ comp attorney?
Consult an experienced workers’ comp attorney to gain a legal advantage in your CPS and CRPS comp settlement. Gerber &Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys will give you valuable advice and help you to navigate smoothly through the complex regulations relating to your claim. We will fight for your rights.