Recently, I wrote about the epidemic of painkiller abuse and overdoses that leave 46 people dead every day in the United States. While many of the individuals who abuse prescription painkillers are drug addicts simply looking for a high, thousands of patients wind up addicted to these powerful drugs after they have been legitimately prescribed them to help them deal with chronic pain.
Invisible but Real
Chronic pain is as real as any other serious medical condition, but many people suffering from chronic pain face obstacles to getting the care and compensation they deserve. Often, it is difficult to even get a proper medical diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, doctors have a difficult time identifying or substantiating chronic pain, and patients find themselves visiting multiple doctors in search of relief.
Insurers may decide that the person claiming a chronic pain problem has not provided enough evidence of their condition to receive benefits. Additionally, so-called “invisible disabilities” commonly associated with chronic pain such as depression or anxiety are often misunderstood and misinterpreted, and victims may encounter issues with obtaining treatment or coverage for these conditions as well.
Even when treatment is obtained, it can be expensive and complicated. Pain medications, including the powerful narcotics and opiates that can lead to addiction and abuse, are of course part of many treatment regimens. But when that is not enough, patients may need additional treatments such as steroid and other types of injections, spinal cord nerve stimulators, occipital nerve stimulators, intrathecal pain drug delivery systems, and surgery. Some patients with catastrophic pain must seek in-patient treatment at multi-disciplinary pain management programs. All of these pain management treatments pose significant risks, have known side effects, and are very costly.
Where’s the Proof?
While the challenges of medical care and insurance coverage are significant, if the chronic pain was caused by somebody else’s carelessness or negligence, the legal challenges involved in obtaining compensation for chronic pain are substantial. Juries, like doctors and insurers, need to be provided with evidence to support claims of chronic pain, and it needs to be shown that the enduring pain was caused by the defendant’s actions.
While the law had been dubious about chronic pain claims in the past, courts in recent years have shown a greater willingness to accept chronic pain as a serious and real condition. Nevertheless, overcoming the evidentiary hurdles necessary to obtain compensation requires not only an experienced personal injury lawyer but medical experts and others who can testify and substantiate the very real pain the victim is suffering.
I Can Help
I have represented accident victims who have endured chronic pain as a result of another person’s negligence, and I work with medical experts who not only understand chronic pain but are able to convey that understanding in an effective way to juries. Chronic pain may be “invisible,” but I can work with you to make sure that it is seen as the real injury it is.
Alan Welch Law: Experienced and Compassionate Brunswick Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured, please give me a call at (912) 265-9811 for a free consultation to discuss your situation. Together, we will figure out what happened, what we can do, and how we can take every possible step to bring you the comfort and compensation that can aid in your recovery.
This article has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.