What can I do about my unhelpful expert?
Following a bike accident in October 2014 I am getting mixed messages from the doctors treating me and the doctor instructed by my solicitor in my compensation claim. My treating doctors have diagnosed complex regional pain syndrome, which I agree with. But the neurologist instructed by my solicitor doesn’t agree with the diagnosis as I did not sustain any nerve injury. He thinks it is all in my head and has recommended I see a psychiatrist. How do I stop this so-called expert from scuppering my case?
Lee Staniforth, London
Answered by Andrew Campbell, Solicitor and author of the MCN Law column.
There are two types of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS): type 1 where there is no clear cause, and type 2 where there is an act (eg, an accident) that causes nerve damage. It may be that the neurologist has not had access to all medical notes, scans and nerve conduction tests and has missed peripheral nerve damage. It is not unusual to investigate psychiatric reasons but one of the CRPS’s effects can be psychiatric symptoms so it can become circular. I suspect your opponent’s solicitors will insist on a psychiatric examination by their expert. I would suggest for now you discuss with your solicitor not relying on the neurologist’s report and seeking a second opinion. I would suggest a consultant in pain medicine who is used to seeing CRPS cases, and that they be provided with full medical records. Assuming the diagnosis is confirmed then an alternative neurologist can be instructed. CRPS cases are complex; make sure your solicitor has experience of them – you don’t want them cutting their teeth on your valuable claim!