Back, Neck and Spine Injury Claims

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Do you suffer from Back, Neck and Spine Injuries?  Did your disability insurer deny your claim for disability insurance benefits?

Do you suffer from a debilitating back or neck injury?  What about some other type of spinal disorder?  According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old.  Each year 13 million people go to the doctor for chronic back pain.  The condition leaves about 2.4 million Americans chronically disabled and another 2.4 million temporarily disabled.

Common back problems include a herniated or bulging disc in the lower (lumbar) spine.  When pressure or stress is placed on the spine, the disc’s outer ring may bulge, crack, or tear.  Down the entire length of the spine, from the neck to the low back, nerves exit through holes in the spinal bones (called foramen) on both the right and left side.  These nerves are called nerve roots, or radicular nerves.  A bulging disc can cause the foramen nerve passage to narrow, a condition called foraminal stenosis, and impinge the exiting nerve root.

Nerves running through the spinal column branch out at each vertebra and innervate different parts of your body.  Nerves that exit the cervical spine (neck area) travel down through your arms, hands, and fingers.  Therefore, a bulging disc that impinges a cervical nerve root can cause pain not just in your neck but in your arms and hands (a cervical radiculopathy).  Similarly, a bulging disc that affects a lumbar nerve root can send sharp, shooting pain from the pinched spinal nerve down your buttocks and into your legs and feet (a lumbar radiculopathy, or sciatica in laymen’s terms).  This can also cause weakness, tingling and numbness in your extremities.

There are many other spine conditions that can cause severe pain.  Spinal stenosis, for example, is similar to foraminal stenosis, just in a different area of your spine.  It is a narrowing of the spinal canal (as opposed to the foramen), i.e. the bone channel that houses the spinal cord.  The narrowing causes pain, weakness and/or numbness because the spinal cord nerves are being compressed.

The development of bone spurs (also called osteophytes) on your spine can narrow nerve passageways, both in your spinal canal and foramen, and thus press on nerves in or exiting the spinal canal.  Bone spurs can also rub on your nerves irritating them, even when they are not in a nerve passageway.  They often develop on spinal joint bones over a long period from osteoarthritis (the wearing down of the protective cartilage in your joints).

These types of painful conditions can prevent a person from performing his or her important occupational duties.  For low back injuries in particular, sitting or standing for long time periods is difficult without experiencing severe pain.  Even a “sedentary” job, one that involves mostly sitting at a desk, thus becomes impossible to perform.

If you suffer from back or neck pain, hopefully you purchased a long-term or short-term disability policy or enrolled in coverage with your employer.  It will pay you a monthly long-term or short-term disability benefit if you become “disabled” due to an illness or injury, including to your back or neck.

That is only half the battle to obtaining your well-deserved disability insurance benefits.  Federal ERISA and state bad faith laws are complex.  The most common type of totally disabling medical condition we see is spinal disorder claims.  Disability insurers are always looking for ways to deny legitimate claims.  They commonly use video surveillance techniques to attempt to deny long-term disability insurance claims based on spinal disorder claims by over-relying on such surveillance to exaggerate the activities in which disability claimants can engage.

If you believe you are totally disabled or if your insurer has denied your claim for long-term or short-term disability insurance benefits, please contact us, McKennon Law Group PC, for a free consultation.  Call us at (949) 387-9595, email us at info@mckennonlawgroup.com or fill out our Consultation Request Form.  Let us decide whether your long-term disability claim was wrongfully denied and let us see if we can assist you.