Motor vehicle collisions can result in very serious injuries. For some people, it can seem like a stroke of luck that their injuries only included a broken bone. After all, unlike head injuries and spinal damage, broken bones can heal over time. For the vast majority of people, that is true.

However, a small number of people who suffer trauma to an extremity, like an arm or a leg, can develop more serious medical conditions as they heal. In these cases, what initially seemed like a broken bone can end up becoming a medical issue that lasts a lifetime and may even preclude the victim from returning to work.


The medical condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) used to be called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). This condition typically impacts people who experience trauma to an arm, leg, hand or foot. CRPS has no known cure. Its symptoms can range from minor to severe, and it is a chronic, or lifelong, condition. If you or someone you know is experiencing worsening pain as a broken bone from a car accident heals, you could have CRPS.

What is CRPS?

The painful condition known as CRPS is a chronic neuro-inflammatory condition. It impacts nerves and sensation in the damaged area. Sometimes, after trauma, your nerves and immune system don’t respond properly. When this happens, you can experience worsening pain, even as the bone itself is healing. The pain is often referred to as deep, aching, cold or burning. The affected area often develops increased skin sensitivity, making things like wearing clothing or even a shower very painful. The pain may come and go, or it can be constant. Some people experience it for life.

Other symptoms of CRPS include a temperature change in the injured area. The skin may change in color or texture. Hair or nails in the affected area may also change. The area may swell and become inflamed. You may experience unusual sweating. It’s also possible to experience loss of strength and range of motion. All of these symptoms can impact not only your quality of life but also your ability to perform your job and the daily duties of self care. Your may require ongoing medical treatment and physical therapy, which is why you need to speak with an attorney who knows CRPS.

Options for seeking damages

While an attorney can’t reverse the damage to your body, an attorney can negotiate for a better insurance settlement after a diagnosis with CRPS. It’s also possible the injured person will need to file a civil suit, which an attorney can also handle. People suffering from CRPS or other injuries after an accident caused by someone else have options for seeking damages. Protect yourself and your future by speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney if you develop CRPS symptoms.