Bartolic Law has helped many clients suffering from Degenerative Disc Disease get their long-term disability benefits paid by insurance companies. Degenerative Disc Disease usually builds over time, and by the time our clients come to us, there is a history of various treatments attempted to help the client continue working. In one case, our client was a clinical nurse in a hospital. The occupation required being on the client’s feet most of the day, and the ability to lift and carry considerable weight to help patients transition from beds to standing or to chairs. The insurer denied the claim, asserting the limitations were not severe enough to preclude the client’s work, and that nursing can be performed in a sedentary role.
We obtained objective testing of the client’s physical limitations caused by the client’s pain, showing the client could not work in clinical nursing anymore. We next examined the client’s unique education and experience. We recognized a vocational expert opinion would help explain why the client’s background in another country would not translate to sedentary nursing roles, such as Nurse Case Managers hired by insurance companies, as these positions often require unique experience few nurses possess. Despite the toil and multiple insurer denials, we were able to get our client paid all of the client’s long-term disability benefits.
Degenerative disc disease involves the deterioration of the discs that cushion your spinal vertebrae. These spinal shock absorbers become worn and fail to protect your vertebrae and spinal cord as they should, resulting in severe pain for many people. Symptoms can vary significantly from one person to another, as some people might experience no symptoms, while others have debilitating effects of the condition. Some symptoms can include pain that starts in the back and might radiate to the buttocks or legs for lower back damage or to the shoulders or arms for upper back damage. An affected individual may also have weakness or instability of the spine, painful muscle spasms, and tingling and numbness in the limbs.
In some cases, movement can increase pain, and reducing movement is the only thing that can reduce pain. Treatment might also include physical therapy, surgery, joint injections, or facet rhizotomy, which is a current that deadens your nerves. Sometimes, pain medication, corsets, or braces are needed. Some patients need to decrease movement as much as possible for pain relief, and this often prevents them from being able to work. In these situations, degenerative disc disease might qualify you for disability insurance benefits.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
There are many spinal conditions that can cause extraordinary pain and movement restrictions, including degenerative disc disease. If you have a painful condition that keeps you from earning a living, you should speak with a disability insurance claims lawyer from Bartolic Law. Fill out the questionnaire below for more information about your options today.