We have previously highlighted the common problem of delayed diagnosis for people suffering chronic pain conditions such Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Neuropathic Pain, Fibromyalgia (FM) and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS).
Any significant delay in diagnosis will likely affect the type and efficacy of treatment available and can lead to a much poorer long term prognosis.
A big additional problem is that in a medico-legal context, people who have developed a chronic pain condition following an accident are often not diagnosed until after their accident claim has settled. Once settled, claims cannot be reopened and claimants in this position are not only left significantly undercompensated, but are then denied the opportunity to claim very expensive treatment costs from the party that injured them.
This may at first glance appear to be a failing entirely on the part of the medical profession, particularly the medical expert or experts in the claim. However, we believe that in most cases, the failure to achieve a diagnosis lies squarely with the solicitor. Of course, the solicitor is not qualified to diagnose the condition per se, but any reasonably competent personal injury solicitor should recognise the symptoms and instruct medical experts who are appropriately qualified to diagnose these conditions.
It is not sufficient for the solicitor to blindly rely upon reports from GPs and orthopaedic surgeons, most of whom have little if any training in chronic pain. Depending upon the nature of the claimant’s condition, a competent solicitor will instruct a consultant in pain medicine or a consultant rheumatologist. Reports are also often required from a psychiatrist or psychologist with a special interest in chronic pain.
So what can somebody do if they find themselves diagnosed with a chronic pain condition after their claim has settled? The only option open to them is to establish whether they may be able to bring a claim against their solicitor for handling their claim negligently.
Should you wish to discuss whether you may have a claim against your solicitor, please contact us on 01225 462871 or complete our online contact form. Your call will be treated in the strictest confidence and your enquiry will be dealt with personally by one of our specialist solicitors.