Medical experts estimate that, by age 35, 30% of people will show some sign of disc degeneration. And by age 60, this figure increases to over 90%. Degenerative disc disease is characterized by chronic, sharp pain or numbness in the back or neck. If you are experiencing pain due to the breakdown of your spinal discs, you may have degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative disc disease is a type of arthritis caused by WEAR and TEAR of the discs that rest between the vertebrae. While everyone’s spinal discs break down throughout the course of their life, some people’s occupations can speed up this process. If you are suffering from severe back or neck pain due to degenerative disc disease, and you believe your occupation made your condition worse, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
What Is the Workers’ Compensation System?
Workers’ compensation is a system that provides benefits to workers who are either injured while on the job or suffer from an occupational illness. If you qualify for workers’ comp benefits, your employer or their insurance carrier will compensate you for all medical treatment related to your injury. This includes doctor’s appointments, medication, and any surgery you may need. In addition, you can receive ongoing income benefits while you cannot work due to your condition.
You do not need to prove that anyone else caused your injury to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you need to prove that your injuries were related to your employment. Thus, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is not always easy, especially for injuries that are not related to a single accident. For example, when it comes to degenerative disc disease, insurance companies frequently claim that your condition was either pre-existing or caused by something other than your employment. An attorney can help you understand what you need to prove to obtain benefits, so you can present a compelling claim.
Can You Recover Workers’ Comp Benefits for Degenerative Disc Disease?
Yes, your degenerative disc disease may be an occupational illness. However, it is not always considered an occupational illness because degenerative disc disease can also be the result of natural WEAR and TEAR. Degenerative disc disease is, by definition, a pre-existing condition because discs start to break down naturally. Thus, whether you can qualify for workers’ comp benefits depends on whether you can show that your job exacerbated the symptoms of your degenerative disc disease.
How Can You Prove Your Degenerative Disc Disease Was Work-Related?
If your doctor diagnosed you with degenerative disc disease, you may be wondering if your job was responsible. While degenerative disc disease occurs naturally over time, certain things can aggravate your condition. For example, jobs that require you to frequently lift heavy objects can make your degenerative disc disease worse. Thus, construction workers, factory workers, and manual laborers frequently develop degenerative disc disease.
However, just because you do not work in one of these occupations does not mean that your condition wasn’t caused by your job. Jobs that require you to sit for long periods of time or perform the same motion over and over again can also aggravate your degenerative disc disease.
If you have degenerative disc disease, do not assume that it is a naturally occurring condition. Instead, reach out to a dedicated workers’ comp attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
What If the Insurance Company Already Denied My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Insurance companies frequently deny workers’ comp claims based on a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. However, this does not have to be the end of the story. You have the right to challenge an insurance company’s denial of your claim. To most effectively do this, you should retain the assistance of an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
When it comes to WEAR and TEAR injuries, workers often find themselves in a tough position. Understandably, you may not know where to turn to get a second opinion or how to ask the insurance company to reconsider your claim. Or perhaps the insurance company requested you attend an independent medical examination (IME), the result of which prompted the insurance company to deny your claim. A knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyer can help you with all your questions, point you in the right direction, and handle all negotiations with the insurance company. A lawyer can also help prepare you for an independent medical examination, so you know what to expect and can avoid making the most common mistakes.
Contact a Skilled Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you are suffering from degenerative disc disease or another type of WEAR and TEAR injury, do not hesitate to reach out to a legal practitioner. But make sure that the attorney has the experience and track record to be your legal representation.
The lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. are here to help and will fight hard to make sure you receive the medical treatment you need and all of the compensation your justly deserve.
Many people do not realize that there are three types of benefits associated with workers’ compensation: Temporary Disability Benefits, Medical Treatment, and Permanent Partial Disability. Although a workers’ compensation carrier may make a voluntary payment, an experienced workers’ comp attorney will make sure you receive ALL of the benefits to which you are legally entitled. The system is designed to have the Workers’ Compensation court review every case to make certain that the insurance company compensates you properly. However, you must retain a lawyer to file a Petition arranging for judicial review. Otherwise, you will simply receive whatever the insurance company decides to voluntarily pay, which is typically much less than what you actually deserve.
We understand that the physical demands of your current or prior job can take a toll on your body. These types of “WEAR and TEAR” injuries can be debilitating, which is one of the reasons that we have worked so hard to help hard working employees receive benefits for serious ailments caused by repetitive stress at work. In fact, our law firm was one of the first in southern New Jersey to present and win cases in the niche field of WEAR and TEAR injuries. When it comes to repetitive stress injuries, the workers’ comp team at Petro Cohen, P.C. has had repetitive results!