Proving and Winning Disability Claims for Back Disorders
Some form of back disability affects most people at one time or another, inhibiting their ability to work. The bulk of back injuries are short term, and workers are able to resume their employment. Yet for some, a disabling back injury can turn into a lifetime of pain that tears at the quality of life.
Back disability claims are routinely challenged by insurance companies, the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
If this has been your experience, it may be time to seek legal help in order to prove you are indeed disabled. Don’t risk losing your disability benefits on a technicality, or at the hands of a shrewd insurance company or an imperfect government program.
The attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates fully understand the reasons, excuses or tactics that insurance companies and government disability programs use to deny claims. We want you to know that you can call on us for answers.
Back Disability – Back Pain and Spinal Injury Claims
Getting Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits
To fight disability claims denied by insurance companies, your lawyer must know exactly what information to provide in order to meet the insurance company’s threshold for proof of back injury disability.
The insurance company will do their best to deny the claim based on insufficient medical records and many other arguments. Employee long term disability benefits (ERISA) and private disability insurance are governed by very different laws. You need an attorney who is adept at negotiations, complex appeals procedures, and litigation in both state and federal courts.
Social Security’s Evaluation of Your Disability Claim
The SSA disability evaluation system does not focus on a person’s diagnosis. Social Security disability insurance is based upon the functional limitations the person has. Your back disability must be judged severe enough to prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity for 12 months or more.
The SSA explains their complex disability determination process in their “Blue Book.” You can view the listing online here: Social Security Listing of Impairments. Back injury disability is included in section 1.00 – Musculoskeletal System.
You may also benefit from reading our eBook, The Social Security Disability Puzzle. Just click here for a free copy.
Veterans Disability Rating for Back Impairments
Veterans suffering from service-connected back injuries are often denied VA disability benefits. If the veteran’s claim is approved, it is common for them to be assigned an unsatisfactory disability rating. Neck and back injury claims are some of the most demanding and disputed VA disability cases.
The VA offers veterans an exhaustive guide that describes how back disability and other impairments of the Musculoskeletal System are determined and rated. You can find it here: Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
Types of Back Injuries that Qualify for Disability
A single traumatic event or accident, such as a car accident or a slip and fall, can cause serious back injury including fractured vertebrae or spinal cord damage. Overexertion such as a sudden forceful movement, bending or jerking the back in an unusual manner, or lifting heavy objects can cause severe muscle and ligament damage, and damage to the spinal disks.
While a back impairment may refer generally to an injury or disorder of the back and spine area, spinal injuries are back disorders that entail specific damage to the spine itself, including nerve damage to the spinal cord.
Progressive conditions often result in spinal injury and disability, such as:
- degenerative disc disease
- scoliosis (curving of the spine) or other structural deformities
- spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space through which the spinal cord passes)
- osteophytes (bone spurs)
- bulging or herniated discs
- disc slippage
- osteoporosis (thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density)
- facet arthrosis (wear and tear of the of the facet joints of the spine)
- sciatica (irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve)
Rare yet serious medical conditions causing back disability exist, including
- Cancer of the spine (spinal tumor within or near the spinal cord, or within the bones of your spine)
- Infection in the spine (caused by bacterial infection, fungus or tuberculosis.) These infections can attack the vertebrae, the discs, and the spinal canal.
- Cauda equina syndrome, a compression or pinching of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord within the spinal canal. This condition can be caused by herniation of lumbar discs, cancer, infections, or localized bleeding.
As disability attorneys, we also know that sometimes the treatment for back and spine injuries can worsen the condition. Improper pain medications or treatments can bring on further disabling side effects and debilitating symptoms.
Have you been unfairly denied benefits for back pain and disability?
We can help. If the SSA, VA or an insurance company has wrongly denied benefits for your back disability claim, request a free consultation with a lawyer now.
At Marc Whitehead & Associates, we help people across the United States who are unable to work because of back pain and spinal disorders. Our firm has received local and national recognition for effective representation of claimants against unprincipled insurance companies.