Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – What Is It And How Is It Assessed

Jonathan Coyle
Laura Green

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a long-term pain that can arise from initially minor injuries which then develops into a debilitating one. In other words, the continuing pain is disproportionate to the original injury. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. The main symptoms can include burning, stabbing, stinging or throbbing pain in the affected area.

If you are to be affected by this syndrome, and believe it to be caused at or by your place of employment, you could be eligible to be assessed for permanent impairment compensation.

Stated under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW), the diagnosis must have been present for at least one year and also requires verification by more than one examining physician. Once other possible causes have been excluded and CRPS is confirmed, it will either be categorised into either type I or type II syndrome.

For diagnosed cases of CRPS, the Whole Person Impairment (WPI) figure may exceed the threshold (10% for physical injuries), as the assessment involves both the worker’s range of motion and also the impact of any sensory deficits on a worker’s activities function. 

CRPS workers comp is often more complex than other types of workers comp claim because:

  • The diagnosis of CRPS is often disputed
  • Permanent impairment ratings for CRPS can vary largely between doctors
  • CRPS settlements often take longer than other types of workers compensation claims
  • Workers comp insurers often fight harder regarding CRPS compensation claims. This is because compensation payouts for CRPS are often higher.

If you have this condition, and it is verified by physicians, it is likely that you are entitled to significant compensation. If you are suffering from symptoms of CRPS that have arisen out of a workplace injury, we invite you to contact our office so that we can discuss your potential lump sum compensation claim.

*Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice before taking any course of action.*

Key Contact

Jonathan Coyle
Founding Partner
Laura Green
Special Counsel


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Further reading .

Another successful medical negligence claim for a couple
Another successful medical negligence claim for a couple