Despite recent advancements in the acceptance of chronic pain as a legitimate, serious impairment, some misunderstanding persists. In the medical-legal context, pain must be studied carefully to ensure sufferers are treated fairly. If you have been stricken by debilitating chronic pain, or know someone who has, education will help understand this sometimes mysterious and often misunderstood syndrome.
Chronic pain is a common after-effect in cases of known trauma like a car accident or sports injury, in which case the injury may appear to heal properly, but long-lasting or permanent discomfort persists. But before pain evolves into something chronic it often begins as a case of acute pain. In this earlier stage, the pain works as a warning system, telling you that your body is currently recovering from a recent injury, surgery or even an illness; the damaged tissue is repairing itself and the pain has a specific location and origin.
Acute pain has a more predictable healing period. This has a major bearing on returning to work or a caregiver role and can dictate the outcome of a personal injury or disability claim. Here, you could qualify for short-term disability benefits or compensation under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits. There are typically fewer psychological difficulties related to acute pain because the individual recognizes it as only temporary.
Chronic pain, though, presents a host of other difficulties that can become complex issues in the legal sphere: the injury didn’t heal properly or, after the healing process has finished, the pain doesn’t go away. Without a cure, patients and their doctors aim to manage the pain.
Personal injury lawyers and medical specialists have a more difficult time documenting these problems because they must rely heavily on subjective rather than objective evidence. Chronic pain also commonly leads to related issues like depression, making a return to work even more difficult.
At Horowitz Injury Law we are experienced in complex cases of chronic pain and long-term disability benefits. Visit www.horowitzinjurylaw.com to find out more or to schedule a free consultation.