What is Phantom Pain?

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What is Phantom Pain?

Phantom pain is pain that is experienced by a person after they have lost an organ or a limb. This usually occurs in connection with surgery, amputation, congenital conditions, or medical malpractice. They may also occur in connection with nerve surgery or spinal cord procedures.  Phantom limb is a similar type of phenomenon wherein the person still feels a body part that is no longer there, but without any pain or discomfort.

Phantom pain can be somewhat difficult to manage. In most cases, a doctor will prescribe pain killers or other medicine to help relieve the person’s symptoms. Other methods for rehabilitation may include a variety of neurologically-based techniques, such as massage, hot/cold therapy, or slight electrical stimulation. Phantom pain can often be irregular, sometimes returning in intervals or cycles.

Can Damages be Collected for Phantom Pain?

In an injury lawsuit, phantom pain can sometimes be factored into a monetary damages award. This can sometimes be difficult, however, since any type of pain and suffering is subjective and difficult to measure. Also, some states may place limits on damages for pain and suffering.

In very serious cases, a person who has caused the plaintiff a condition resulting in phantom pain may be liable for extra expenses associated with the pain. For example, the defendant may be required to compensate the victim for extra rehabilitation costs, or for prescription medicine bills. 

In some cases, such as those involving deliberate amputation procedures, phantom pain can be expected or anticipated as a side effect of the procedure. As such, the costs may be factored into such procedures at the outset. In other cases, phantom pain may develop much later following a procedure or injury. 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Legal Issues Involving Phantom Pain?

Phantom pain claims can often be difficult to address, but they can be remedied, legally speaking. In most cases, you’d need to supply proof of the pain you have been suffering.  This may require the assistance of a medical expert and a lawyer. Thus, you should contact a lawyer for advice and representation if you need to file an injury-related claim with the court. Your attorney can assist you in obtaining a damages award to compensate you for your losses and expenses.

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Last Modified: 08-26-2013 04:21 PM PDT

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