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Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Injuries in Jones Act Cases

Seamen suffering from chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) caused by an accident on a commercial fishing or shipping vessel should speak to a qualified maritime attorney about their rights under the law. CRPS is a devastating disease that causes chronic pain in an individual’s arms, legs, hands, and/or feet. It is a progressive, neurological condition that can develop without warning in individuals who have suffered a traumatic injury.

Seamen working on commercial fishing and shipping vessels are susceptible to traumatic injuries that can result in CRPS. For example, CRPS can occur from crush injuries when crab pots and other equipment fall on a crew member’s arms or legs. A second common cause is when a worker’s hand gets caught in a conveyor belt. Even relatively minor injuries can trigger chronic regional pain syndrome.

There are various symptoms associated with CRPS, including debilitating pain, skin discoloration, excessive sweating, stiff joints, tremors, difficulty with coordination, and high sensitivity to the affected site. As the disease progresses, patients can also develop anxiety and depression symptoms. The excruciating pain can significantly impact your quality of life and make it impossible to continue working on commercial fishing and shipping vessels.

Unlike injuries such as broken bones, CRPS can be challenging to diagnose. It is critical to work with a qualified medical professional who you trust. Under maritime law, injured seamen have the right to choose their doctors. You do not have to use medical professionals recommended by your insurance or employer. The disease can require extensive medical treatment, including medication, physical therapy, and non-invasive surgeries. Early detection of CRPS is critical to maximize recovery. It is not a disease that should be ignored or taken lightly.

Seamen suffering from CRPS may be entitled to compensation under maritime law. In almost every case, injured workers will be entitled to maintenance and cure, which includes compensation for daily living expenses and medical costs. Maintenance and cure benefits are available to all seamen regardless of who was at fault for the injury.

If your employer’s negligence caused the CRPS injury, additional damages may be available under the Jones Act. The burden of causation under the Jones Act is very low. The employer’s negligence does not need to be the sole or even primary cause of the injury. As long as the injury was in some part the fault of your employer, you may be entitled to damages under the Jones Act. There are extensive damages available under the Jones Act, including lost earnings and lost earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have suffered chronic regional pain syndrome injuries against vessel owners, maritime employers, and maritime insurance companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206-624-8844 or through this website.