What Is Chronic Pain?
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Acute Pain vs. Chronic Pain
Acute pain is a normal feeling triggered in a person’s nervous system. It alerts them to a possible injury that they can resolve on their own, such as via an over-the-counter medication or a massage. Chronic pain is different because it persists. Unlike most mild forms of acute pain, chronic pain is typically not self-inflicted. Instead, it is usually the result of trauma or damaged caused by negligence or intentional actions of another.
What Counts as Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is any pain lasting longer than 12 weeks. It can occur for months or years. The pain may limit a person’s mobility, stamina, or strength. The pain may develop in one location or over many areas of the body.
How Does Chronic Pain Happen?
Usually, chronic pain arises from some type of initial injury like an ongoing illness or back sprain. Occasionally, there is no clear cause for chronic pain.
Can This Type of Pain Be Caused by Someone Else?
Yes. Most people suffer from chronic pain after an injury from a car accident, slip and fall, or medical malpractice. These accidents frequently arise from another person’s negligence
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal theory that assigns fault to a negligent party. The standard that determines what counts as negligence is what an ordinary person would do in the same or similar situation as the defendant. The elements of negligence are:
- Duty: The defendant has a duty to avoid causing an injury to a plaintiff
- Breach of duty: The defendant breached this duty by causing an injury to the plaintiff that results in chronic pain
- Cause: The defendant’s action was both an actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s chronic pain
- Damages: The plaintiff is entitled to compensation for their chronic pain
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages are money damages awarded to a plaintiff for experiencing some sort of physical or mental pain caused by a defendant, especially clong-lasting chronic pain. The damages are considered usually general damages designed to compensate the plaintiff for having to endure the pain that they deal with as a result of their injury.
Can I Sue If My Chronic Pain Is Job-Related?
Generally, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit if you incurred your chronic pain as a result of work. Job-related injuries are covered under workers’ compensation, unless the employee is not an actual “employee” and qualifies and an independent contractor instead. An employee who is injured on the job must file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer to start receiving financial compensation.
Should I Talk to an Attorney about My Pain?
Yes, talk to a personal injury attorney about your chronic pain. The attorney will inform you whether you have a potential lawsuit.
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Last Modified: 08-24-2015 10:09 AM PDT
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