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Chronic Pain Compensation

If your condition has been caused by an injury that was not your fault, or if you’re living in chronic pain as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have every right to bring chronic pain injury claims to compensate for your pain and suffering.

Chronic pain compensation claims

We all suffer pain at some point when we’re hurt, but living with chronic pain conditions is something else entirely – seriously impacting the individual’s quality of life. It is known as an invisible condition – we can’t ‘see’ pain – making sufferers feel isolated and misunderstood.

Chronic pain is a condition that persists longer than a matter of weeks. It’s often triggered by a physical injury sustained in an accident or by an underlying illness or condition, such as arthritis or reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. Persistent pain might, for many people, simply start spontaneously for no known reason – a fact of life you have to learn to live with.

For others, it’s the direct result of someone’s negligence – in which case sufferers have every right to claim chronic pain injury compensation.

To find out more about making a chronic pain injury claim, call for free advice on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you prefer, fill in this online contact form for a call back.

What is chronic pain syndrome?

Chronic pain, also known as chronic pain syndrome (CPS), is any type of persistent pain lasting for longer than three months, even after taking medication or other medical treatments. It may not even be actual ‘pain’ that you experience for it to be formally classified as chronic pain.

The World Health Organisation defines chronic pain widely to include: “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”. This means chronic pain conditions can also include persistent tingling nerves and electric shock-type sensations – known as ‘neuropathic pain’.

Unfortunately, this condition is all too common: up to a half of the UK population are thought to be affected, whether because of complex regional pain syndrome or following a traumatic injury.

Sufferers may experience constant or intermittent pain – but if it goes on for more than 12 weeks or so, it is considered ‘chronic’.  Not all those who suffer from chronic pain can blame the condition on a third party, but if your condition was avoidable – you could take steps towards claiming compensation from those responsible.

How is chronic pain different to acute pain?

Normal or ‘acute’ pain is different to persistent longer term pain. Normal pain is the body’s natural way of telling you something’s wrong, for instance if you suffer a bang on the head or a burn you immediately know about it. When this happens, a pain signal is immediately sent to the injured person’s brain and this becomes weaker as the injury starts to heal. Without this pain response, many injuries and illnesses would go unnoticed and lead to serious problems.

Chronic persistent pain carries on indefinitely – sometimes even for years after the original injury occurred. It may even be spontaneous, with no definitive cause. In some situations, chronic pain increases as time goes on.

It might also be referred pain – where pain from an injury or condition is ‘referred’ to another area of the body. It may even be psychological, with no actual physical cause, but that does not mean it’s not real – and sufferers might still be able to bring personal injury claims.

Importantly, if you think your injury and/or pain condition were caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be able to make a personal injury claim. Call on 0800 234 6438 for free advice about making chronic pain injury claims; or, if you prefer, you can fill in this online contact form and request a call back.

Can you make a no win no fee claim? 

Quite simply – yes, if your personal injury solicitor considers the evidence is strong enough to place the blame on the other party. If you’ve a reasonably strong case, your solicitor can take your chronic pain claim on a no win no fee basis. This removes the financial risk to you in claiming compensation. Which means if you don’t win compensation, you won’t have to pay any legal fees to your solicitor; nor are there any upfront charges or hidden costs.

And if you do win your case, you will win the compensation you rightly deserve. Out of your compensation, you will then pay your clinical negligence solicitor a ‘success fee’ as a percentage of the compensation you receive, but this will only take up a maximum of 25% – so you’ll still get to keep most of it.

Click here to find out more about no win no fee.

What are the most common forms of chronic pain?

Chronic pain can take a number of different forms and sufferers experience it in varying degrees. It can be localised or widespread pain; it may last six months or it can be long lasting pain.

FACT – The three most common types of chronic pain are back pain, headaches, and joint pain.

SOURCE The British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Whatever the cause, all types of chronic pain have one thing in common: long-lasting discomfort, which can have a major impact on day-to-day life. It can manifest itself as aches, sharp pains, shooting pains, tightness in the chest – or other less painful but uncomfortable sensations which are just not normal.

We know that the condition can be a very individual experience, and that’s why experienced personal injury solicitors will look at each case as different and unique. Some individuals suffer every day, such as those with severe forms of arthritis; while others do get some days or weeks of respite before pain returns.

Unfortunately, those who are overweight and/or live a sedentary lifestyle, are more likely to experience chronic pain. However, that does not preclude them from making chronic pain claims if a third party was at fault. Call a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 with all the details of your case, and find out about the chronic pain claims process and how you can start your compensation claim.

DID YOU KNOW? Arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis – is one of the most common pain disorders. Between 8 and 16% of the population in Europe and the US are diagnosed with the condition.

SOURCE British Medical Journal

DID YOU KNOW? Lower back pain is the biggest single cause of disability accounting for 11% of total disability in the UK.


What are the most common causes of chronic pain?

Many cases of chronic pain are not the result of negligence – it’s often the unwelcome side effect of an underlying illness or condition that has developed naturally. However, there are sufferers for whom their prolonged pain was avoidable, for example, it resulted from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident, or as a result of medical or clinical negligence.

In some instances, there may even be a delay between the original injury and the onset of chronic pain symptoms (chronic pain claims can still be made in such cases). The most common causes of chronic pain include:

  • Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) – sometimes triggered by traumatic experiences, such as the death of a loved one
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD) – a malfunction in the nervous system which typically develops months after an original limb injury
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – often caused when a minor injury or minor injuries fail to heal properly. Sufferers may experience burning pain, sensitivity to touch or further pain
  • Work-related injuries and conditions, such as vibration white finger (VWF) and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Medical negligence – find out more about misdiagnosis compensation
  • Hernia mesh and vaginal mesh operations
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Chronic secondary musculoskeletal pain
  • Conditions such as post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), diabetes, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cancer, arthritis
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Surgical procedures
  • Joint disorders, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Back injuries
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Amputation injuries – phantom pain can be permanent

Sometimes it can be difficult for an individual to tell exactly what has caused their chronic pain because of the gap between the injury and the persistent pain developing. The critical thing to know is that if you suffer chronic pain and it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness – even if there was a delay before your chronic pain began – it’s unfair you should be left to suffer. A compensation claim can be the best chance you have of helping you back on the road to recovery.

Don’t assume that your chronic pain was unavoidable – we strongly recommend you discuss your situation with a trained legal adviser. They will be able to let you know whether they think somebody else is liable for your accident and can help you start the process of making a no win no fee compensation claim. Call for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438 or, if you prefer, you can fill in this online contact form.

FACT – Chronic pain is caused by the brain misinterpreting messages from the spinal nerves from the body to the brain, so that the brain continues sending out pain signals through the nervous system


DID YOU KNOW? – Chronic pain and other hernia mesh complications affected up to 170,000 hernia patients in the 6 years to 2018, according to surgeons


What are the complications of chronic pain?

Chronic pain can have devastating consequences for both your physical and mental health. It is not unusual to develop further pain or injury associated with a part of your body that may be overcompensating for the area or areas where chronic pain is experienced. For example, someone with chronic hip pain may develop pain in the knee or back because they are walking awkwardly.

Sadly, depression is a very real risk for anyone suffering chronic pain for a long period of time, often because they tend to suffer in silence. Given that this is a highly complex area to treat, the injured person can be left suffering for many years raising the risk to their mental and emotional health. Thankfully, no win no fee chronic pain claims can include an element for psychological harm caused.

Chronic pain can also be disabling, particularly if it is so severe as to impact on your daily life and ability to carry out your normal work and social activities. In fact, according to the National Institute Centre Excellence (NICE), 10.4 to 14.3% of those with persistent pain in the UK suffer moderate to severely disabling pain.

In more severe chronic pain cases, complications can also include:

  • Misuse of medicines and painkiller dependency
  • Impaired sleep and fatigue
  • Side-effects from painkillers and other medications, such as opioids
  • A reduced quality of life
  • Mental and emotional distress, including risk of suicide

Once you speak with specialist chronic pain solicitors, they will get the full picture of the full extent of your chronic pain condition and the impact on you. You can be reassured that they will fight to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. To start your no win no fee injury claim, call for a free consultation on 0800 234 6438 or complete the online contact form and request a call back.

FACT – Pain affects 1 in 4 people; it is the most common reason that people attend their GP.

SOURCE The British Pain Society

How can I prove someone else caused my chronic pain?

Chronic pain compensation claims are particularly challenging because the ‘causal link’ between the negligence and chronic pain disorders has to be proved on the balance of probabilities. Often, this will centre on the original injury suffered by the individual.

This means that the stronger the evidence your personal injury solicitor has to demonstrate that someone else caused your condition, the more likely you are to succeed. The most important step you can take is call for a free consultation to find out whether you could have a strong enough case so that, with expert help, you can get the ball rolling quickly.

What treatments are available for chronic pain?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy cure but there are painkillers and medical procedures that can introduce a level of relief for some sufferers. Chronic pain is a complex area of medicine with no quick diagnosis or cure for sufferers. This makes persistent pain a challenge for medical professionals, who will need to take a holistic approach to the individual and make an appropriate assessment and treatment of their condition.

That said, sufferers are better able to access various types of treatment than they once were, depending on their condition – thanks to a wider range of therapies and treatment. Though help is available on the NHS, waiting lists are invariably lengthy and you may choose to go private if you’re desperate for help.

Thankfully, those suffering chronic pain resulting from an injury or condition caused by someone else acting negligently, are able to bring chronic pain injury claims against those responsible.

Pain management can range from painkillers and steroid injections to formal pain management programmes accessed via pain management clinics. Treatments include:

  • Pain management treatment – This is based in psychology and helps individuals learn to cope and to live with pain. Some pain clinics also offer complementary therapies such as acupuncture.
  • Painkillers – Doctors normally recommend taking over-the-counter painkillers to start with, but no more than the recommended dose and for a short period of time. If the pain persists, your GP is likely to refer you to pain management specialists.
  • Exercise – It’s tempting to rest as much as you can if you’re suffering pain, but more often than not mobility can exacerbate things. If you lay or sit down too much without getting up and moving around, your muscles stiffen and your bones can weaken – making muscle pain worse. Medics often recommend gentle exercise such as walking, stretching and swimming.
  • Physiotherapy – Regular physiotherapy sessions can relieve pain. Specialist physiotherapists are experienced in helping patients move better and will recommend the best exercises for your specific type of pain.
  • Alternative therapies – Depending on the nature of your condition, visiting a chiropractor or osteopath can help bring relief.

Other forms of pain management also include meditation, acupuncture and using a Tens machine.

Can I claim for chronic pain against my employer?

No one should be placed at risk of going to work and suffering an injury or occupational disease, including chronic pain. We should be able to go work free from the risk of injury and pain. To enable this, the law imposes strict duties of care on employers to ensure health and safety risks to workers are promptly identified and minimised.

Unfortunately, there are instances where employers fail to take reasonable steps to protect their employers, and an accident happens or a worker develops a painful condition. If you’ve suffered an injury or a condition, including chronic pain, because of your workplace, and you believe your employer was in breach of its duties, you should be able to claim compensation against your employer.

If you haven’t already done so, it is wise to report your injury to your employer and ask that a formal record of it is made in the accident logbook. This will be important evidence in your claim.

You should also phone 0800 234 6438 for a free consultation with experienced chronic pain solicitors; or you can request a call back via the contact form for information about the chronic pain compensation claims process.

What’s an employer’s legal responsibility?

Your employer’s responsibilities to protect workers from the risk of injury are clearly set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Additional rules also apply to employers, depending on the nature of the business. Importantly, they must undertake risk assessments so that risks of health and safety are promptly identified and acted upon.

This includes not just risks of an accident, but the risk of a worker developing a condition that can may cause persistent pain.  Appropriate preventative measures may include providing for regular breaks for workers from manual work to reduce the risk of developing a painful joint disorder; and ensuring warning signs are placed where a tripping hazard has been identified.

Employers who are negligent in minimising health and safety risks to the workforce could be held to account if an employer suffers an accident or condition as a result.

My employer refused to make reasonable adjustments despite my chronic pain – can I claim?

Employers are legally required to provide for what are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ where necessary.  A worker suffering chronic pain may not be so badly affected that they cannot work, but their condition may make working life difficult. They probably also meet the definition of disabled:

The Equality Act 2010 defines ‘disabled’ as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.

A reasonable adjustment is a change implemented at work to make sure workers with disabilities or physical or mental health conditions are not substantially disadvantaged when doing their work. For example, an office worker may be provided with an ergonomic keyboard better suited to someone suffering carpal tunnel syndrome; or an employee with arthritic hips may be moved to a downstairs office where there are no steps to climb.

This is in the interests of both the employee and the employer – employers do not want their workforce going off sick because of a painful condition or other ill health. Where reasonable adjustments are implemented, the worker who suffers persistent pain is able to carry on with their job – contributing value to the business.

In circumstances where your employer refuses to implement reasonable adjustments because of your condition, you could:

  • Claim for chronic pain injury compensation if your condition has worsened as a direct result
  • Make a separate claim for discrimination

It’s highly reassuring to know that UK law robustly protects your health and safety and your rights at work. With specialist legal advice, you can take the necessary steps to claim the compensation you deserve. Call for free advice on 0800 234 6438 or, if you prefer, you can fill in this online contact form.

FACT – Employers must avoid work activities that can cause back pain, where reasonably practicable; and if it can’t be avoided – employers must assess and reduce the risk of back pain.


Will my claim leave my employer out of pocket?

We know it can be daunting taking legal action against an employer, especially if you’re still working for the business – in what are very difficult economic conditions. However, it is comforting to know that employers must have liability insurance in place precisely to cover the risk of a personal injury claim.

This means if you make a successful claim, it will be your employer’s insurer who will pay out compensation to you and not your employer.

Can I claim for chronic pain caused by medical negligence?

When we have surgery or treatment following an injury or following diagnosis of an illness, we expect to be treated by well-qualified and competent doctors and health professionals. Thankfully, this is the experience of the vast majority of people in the UK – but sometimes, things do not go as well as they should.

Chronic pain is a condition that can be caused by substandard medical care or treatment. For example, if you’ve undergone a hernia repair you may be suffering persistent long-term pain as a result of having a hernia mesh inserted to strengthen the repair. This is now a known risk and you could be entitled to claim chronic pain compensation.

Where a patient’s treatment has been substandard and this causes a chronic pain condition and, possibly, a further injury – the healthcare professional concerned should be held to account. The injured person can do this by bringing a claim for compensation.

So, if you’re now unexpectedly suffering chronic pain following medical treatment that was not to the standard expected of those treating you, it’s only fair that you should be compensated. For early advice, call to speak to a trained legal advice on 0800 234 6438 with the details of your case. Your injury solicitor can take your claim on a no win no fee basis.

How can medical negligence be proven?

Medical negligence is an avoidable mistake or substandard care by a medical professional which directly causes an injury or makes an existing injury or condition worse. To prove chronic pain was caused by clinical negligence, your solicitor will have to prove on balance that:

  • The doctors or healthcare professionals breached their duty of care, and
  • Your chronic pain syndrome was caused directly by the breach

To find out whether you could make a chronic pain claim, you can all for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438, or submit your details using the claim form on this page.

CASE STUDY – A number of Scottish women each won around £100,000 after their vaginal mesh implants caused chronic pain and other medical complications. The compensation was paid out in 2020 by mesh manufacturers Johnson & Johnson.

SOURCE The Guardian

How can compensation help you?

Chronic pain can be devastating to live with. Because it lasts so long, it can have a huge impact on your life as well as those around you. Apart from suffering from physical pain on a daily basis, it can also have a serious effect on your mental wellbeing – leaving you feeling depressed and alone.

It’s likely you’ll have needed to take time off work, and you may have been unable to enjoy your usual hobbies or sports, and found it difficult to enjoy time with your family and friends.

With a specialist solicitor on your side, you can claim maximum compensation to help you get on with your life. We know no amount of money can take away what you’ve been through, but the compensation you receive can help to cover the costs of your condition as well as any future treatment you’ll need.

To find out whether you could make a claim, or for more information about compensation, you can speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

How can I start my chronic pain claim?

If you’re thinking about making a chronic pain claim, you might be feeling unsure whether you could be eligible. Generally, it’s likely you can seek compensation if:

  • Your chronic pain stems from an original injury or condition caused by someone else
  • Your chronic pain has been caused by a third party

If you’re at all unsure whether you can claim chronic pain compensation, the most important step you can take is to get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be happy to answer your questions and advise whether you can claim.

If you decide to go ahead with your claim, you will be partnered with a specialist personal injury solicitor experienced in chronic pain compensation claims. They will talk you through the circumstances that led to your condition and collect the evidence needed to support your chronic pain claim.

Importantly, this will include your medical notes and records demonstrating the nature and extent of your condition. It is also wise for you to keep a diary, if you’re not doing so already, recording where you’re experience pain and the extent of it on a daily basis; and how it is impacting your life.  All this information will be crucial in helping your solicitor build the strongest possible case on your behalf, enabling you to recover maximum compensation

In most cases, the claim will be settled without having to go to court. They’ll also be able to do most of the paperwork on your behalf and will make your claim on a no win no fee basis, so you won’t be left out-of-pocket.

Will I need a specialist medical report?

Yes, in the vast majority of personal injury claims your solicitors will arrange for you to have an expect medical examination to assess your condition and any related initial injury. The doctor will then write a report based on this medical assessment and this will be a key piece of evidence in your claim.

However, you don’t need to worry about the cost of this as your solicitor will arrange it for you, with the cost covered by your no win no fee agreement.

What time limits apply?

In most personal injury claims, you have three years from the date you suffered an injury to claim compensation. The challenge with this type of condition is that it’s not easy to pinpoint the date of the event that caused chronic pain.

In these cases, the general rule is that you have three years from the date of knowledge of the injury or event that caused your persistent pain. This is particularly important for chronic pain claims where there has been a delay between the injury or substandard medical treatment – and when the persistent pain actually began.

Always check with specialist personal injury lawyers to find out if you are able to bring an injury claim.

CASE STUDY – A soft play centre receptionist won £34,000 in chronic pain compensation after her carpal tunnel syndrome was made worse by having to pick up a card payment machine up to 100 times a day. Her employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments.

SOURCE – Daily Telegraph

What can I claim compensation for?

You can claim general damages to reflect your actual pain and suffering; and ‘special’ damages to compensate you for the financial impact of your injury and or chronic pain condition.

Chronic pain compensation amounts due in general damages depends on a number of factors. For example, did it follow a primary injury – which you will also want to claim for? How much compensation you win will also depend on the nature and extent of your condition; your prognosis; and the impact on your life.

With so many unknowns early on in personal injury cases, it’s difficult to give guideline chronic pain compensation amounts for what you could be entitled to. However, lawyers refer to official guidelines from the Judicial College when calculating an appropriate level for your financial compensation settlement. The guidelines, now in their 16th edition (2022) suggest, for instance:

  • Moderate complex regional pain syndrome – up to £52,500
  • Severe complex regional pain syndrome – between £52,500 and £84,010
  • Severe carpal tunnel: £13,000 to £20,000
  • Moderate to serious vibration white finger – £8,640 to £38,430

You can also try the online compensation calculator for an initial estimate of how much compensation you might be entitled to in compensation for chronic pain conditions.

Can I claim for psychological harm ?

Yes, if you’ve developed a psychological symptoms or a mental health condition as a direct result of your condition, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, you can claim a compensation payment for psychiatric harm. Simply talk it through with your specialist chronic pain solicitor who will be experienced in recovering damages for psychological harm as an element of chronic pain compensation claims.

Your lawyer will need to arrange for an expert psychiatric or psychologist’s report to support your claim, particularly where chronic pain compensation amounts will include an element for psychological harm. However, just like the medical report – you won’t need to worry about this as your injury claims solicitor will organise this for under the no win no fee agreement.

What special damages can I claim?

Living with a chronic pain disorder can massively impact your life, meaning you may have to have time off work or even change your job and you may need to pay up front for medical expenses. Thankfully, your compensation for chronic pain will include an amount to reflect your reasonable financial losses caused by your condition (and any initial personal injury). For example:

  • Loss of earnings, including loss of future earnings if you’ve had to take a lower paid job or stop work completely
  • Costs of pain management treatments and therapies and other private medical treatment
  • Prescription and medical expenses and travel costs
  • Care costs in severe cases

Your solicitor will have to evidence these costs to the other side when negotiating an injury compensation settlement, so make sure you gather any receipts, invoices, payslips and other paperwork and pass them to your solicitor when needed. They will also be able to talk you through what you can and can’t claim for as part of your injury compensation.

To find out whether you could make a claim, or for more information about compensation, you can speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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