Physical injury can cause fibromyalgia. People who sustain harm to their bodies in car accidents are at higher risk of developing fibromyalgia than people who have not suffered trauma. Despite the skepticism of some doctors to the very existence of fibromyalgia, researchers proved more than 15 years ago that the condition is a legitimate illness and can result from physical trauma.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is not a psychological or psychosomatic issue. FMS is a chronic musculoskeletal condition in which patients experience pain spread over a regional, as opposed to a discrete, area of the body, plus an increased sensitivity to pain in specific locations. FMS is one of the most common illnesses that rheumatologists treat.
How a Car Accident Can Cause Fibromyalgia
Medical researchers do not yet understand the mechanism by which physical trauma can lead to FMS, but they do know that people with the illness often have experienced a physical injury to the same area of the body during the six months before the onset of FMS symptoms.
If you have chronic muscle pain, tenderness, fatigue, or other signs of FMS shortly after injuring that part of your body in a car accident, the crash might be the cause of your current problems. Also, other medical conditions make you more susceptible to developing FMS after trauma, including:
- Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
- Spinal arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
There might be a genetic component to FMS, because having a family member with FMS might make you more likely to have the disorder.
How FMS Can Impact Your Life
In addition to chronic muscle pain, fatigue, and tenderness, FMS can cause you to experience:
- Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
- Sleeping disorders
- Stiffness when you awaken
- Painful menstrual periods
- Memory and processing problems
Damages You Can Get for FMS Caused by an Accident
When you develop FMS after a collision, you can have two categories of possible recoveries in a settlement:
- Damages from the initial injuries suffered in the crash
- Damages from the FMS you later developed
For both categories, your compensation could include these items:
- Medical expenses: This includes expenses for ambulance rides, emergency rooms, hospital stays, surgery, doctors, physical therapy, painkillers, and equipment like crutches or a wheelchair.
- Lost income: This includes replaced wages and other income you lost because of the wreck, your medical treatment, and recuperation time.
- Decreased future earnings: This includes your current and anticipated future medical condition that will lead to lower income for you.
- Long-term care and assistance: This is if the accident leaves you needing help with daily living activities and frequent medical treatments.
- Pain and suffering: This is for the physical pain and mental distress you experienced.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If you no longer can perform activities that brought joy to your life, you may be able to recover this expense.
What to Do After a Car Accident
After a car accident, you should get immediate medical attention, even if you do not perceive significant injuries right away. The professionals in urgent care centers and emergency rooms know how to detect problems that might not exhibit visible signs at the time of the wreck. Some trauma, like internal bleeding and soft tissue damage, is not always apparent until a day or more after the accident. Even broken bones can go undetected.
Document your injuries from the wreck. If you try to tough it out with physical injuries from a collision and only go to the doctor six months later when you develop FMS symptoms, it will be challenging to link the FMS to the car accident.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer
Do not settle your claim with the insurance company too early. If you accept a settlement and later develop FMS, you cannot go back to the insurance company and get more money. Make sure that you complete all treatment for your injuries and have no lingering effects, and even then, make sure you hire a lawyer to handle the resolution of your injury claim.
Get an evaluation of your claim from an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we will review your facts and tell you if you might be eligible for compensation. Call us today at 404-474-0804 to set up your free consultation. There is no obligation.