Chronic Pain Compensation Claims

If you have been affected by chronic pain we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered chronic pain and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming chronic pain compensation:

Introduction

The Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) defines chronic pain as:

pain or discomfort that troubles a person all of the time or on and off for longer than three months.

Chronic pain is pain that has not been relieved by treating the cause, if known, or by trying to relieve the pain itself.

Chronic pain can be mild, moderate or severe. In some cases, chronic pain may be constant.

Chronic pain symptoms

Symptoms include shooting, burning or aching sensations in the area affected, or feelings of soreness, stiffness or tightness.

Its impact on a person's life can vary from minor restrictions to complete loss of independence.

How common is chronic pain?

The prevalence of chronic pain increases with age, with 53% of men and 59% of women aged 75 and over being affected.

Patient talking with doctor

How does chronic pain manifest?

Sometimes chronic pain occurs spontaneously but usually develops after a trauma or injury, which could be anything from a broken arm to a minor muscle strain.

Pain signals may remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months or even years after the injury itself has healed.

There is often a gap between the onset of chronic pain and the original cause. As a result, people often fail to make the association and do not pursue a compensation claim.

A key point here is that you are entitled to claim up to three years from the diagnosis of the pain, not three years from the accident that caused the pain.

Conditions associated with chronic pain

The panel of solicitors have represented claimants with the following conditions:

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD), a severe pain disorder caused by a malfunction in the nervous system, which results in severe chronic pain. Also commonly referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), minor personal injuries may trigger it. When broken bones, damaged nerves, soft tissue injuries, bruises and sprains fail to heal properly, symptoms such as severe burning pain, unexplained swelling, excessive sweating, sensitivity to touch or greater than expected pain are possible.

RSD often develops several months after the original trauma and may be very complex to diagnose.

  • Fibromyalgia has many symptoms that may vary from person to person - widespread pain, extreme sensitivity to pain all over the body, and stiffness.

It may develop spontaneously or as the result of an accident (post-traumatic fibromyalgia). It can be triggered by any type of accident with a sudden movement, or from heavy lifting or manual handling. Repetitive tasks, such as typing, may also cause fibromyalgia.

  • Myofascial pain affects the body's soft tissue and may involve a single muscle or a muscle group. It is characterised by muscle pain, tenderness and spasm. It usually occurs through strain or injury to a muscle, ligament or tendon. This may have been caused by an accident, or through surgery.

Do I have a chronic pain claim?

You should be eligible to make a chronic pain injury claim if your injury happened:

  • within the last three years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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Claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a chronic pain claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if the other party denies liability?

If the defendant denies liability, your solicitor will build the strongest possible case in order to prove that the defendant is responsible for your chronic pain. Ultimately the solicitor will issue court proceedings on the defendant. Often this prompts an admission of liability before proceedings begin.

How much compensation can I claim for chronic pain?

The amount of money you could claim for your chronic pain will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your chronic pain has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a chronic pain? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Chronic pain compensation amounts

The following chronic pain payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Chronic pain
Moderate pain disorder £16,800 to £30,690
Moderate Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) £22,340 to £41,860
Serious, persisting pain disorder £33,590 to £50,210
Severe Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) £41,860 to £66,970
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
Minor symptoms £2,390 to £6,890
Minor symptoms in cold weather £6,890 to £13,360
Year-round symptoms £13,360 to £25,220
Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job £25,220 to £30,630
Vibration White Finger (VWF)
Minor symptoms £2,390 to £6,890
Minor symptoms in cold weather £6,890 to £13,360
Year-round symptoms £13,360 to £25,220
Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job £25,220 to £30,630
Work-related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD)
Recovering within a few months at most £1,760 to £2,810
Recovering completely within 3 years £6,890 to £8,570
Continuing problems on one side £11,890 to £13,020
Continuing problems needing surgery, preventing working £17,460 to £18,440

What is the average injury compensation for a chronic pain claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a chronic pain will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your chronic pain compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I claim for an existing chronic pain that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Chronic pain compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a chronic pain injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your chronic pain claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a chronic pain claim take?

How long it can take to settle a chronic pain claim can vary considerably.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a couple of months. However, if liability is denied the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your chronic pain claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

Under a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a chronic pain claim without the worry of upfront legal fees. If your chronic pain claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your chronic pain injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my chronic pain claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my chronic pain claim?

If your chronic pain claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Chronic pain FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a chronic pain claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the chronic pain to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your chronic pain claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a chronic pain after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim chronic pain compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a chronic pain claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert