Spinal injuries can cause problems that increase over the years from the date of injury. An injury that may not seem too severe at the time of injury can actually become much worse as the years go by. An injured spine is more likely to show signs of degenerative disc disease than one that has not been damaged. When a spinal injury occurs at work, it is especially important to document that injury and have it treated immediately to reduce the effects that the personal injury of the spine will have on ones later years. If a person delays too long in filing an application to receive disability benefits on the basis of a spinal injury, they may be denied. The reason for the inability to file a late claim on a spinal injury can be related to the inability to show a direct correlation to the original injury.
When a spine is injured, arthritis and other degeneration of the bone and cartilage of the spine may concentrate in the area of a prior injury. However, it is not possible to determine if the additional degeneration of the spine is associated with normal aging, or has been made worse by the previous injury. One case of this nature was when a Nassau County Police Officer filed a petition on May 5, 1972 with the New York State Policemen’s and Firemen’s Retirement System.
He claimed that six years previous to the application, he had been injured while attempting to carry an injured man on a stretcher from an apartment building. He claimed that his back struck an elevator door where he was compressed between the door and the stretcher. He stated that he sustained an injury to his spine that included a possible injury to the discs. Six years later, he filed his request for total disability associated with the injury from the accident. He claimed that the result of the accident was that he was not able to perform the duties related to being a patrolman on the police force.
The court required that medical evidence be presented that would demonstrate that the officer has sustained a severe and permanent injury that had resulted in his total disability or partial disability. The Retirement System required that the officer be examined by a neurologist and a psychiatrist provided by the state. The doctor filed his results of the examination. He claimed that the tests that he performed on the officer demonstrated that the officer was not severely injured at all. In fact, the doctor pronounces that he did not sustain a herniation injury to the disc and that he would be able to return to his normal police duties with no disability at all.
The officer brought in his own experts. He brought forward the police surgeon who was responsible for the health of all of the members of the police department. He examined the officer immediately following his injury which he had records of happening on April 4, 1966. He stated at the time that he thought that the officer had sustained a herniation injury to a spinal disc. He stated that he had referred the officer to an orthopedic specialist for continued treatment. He stated that he did not believe that the officer was fit to continue work as a frontline police officer in New York. He also testified that the officer’s current disc problems were causally related to the original accident in 1966. However, the other medical experts who the officer brought forward to support his claim stated that they thought that the officer was injured and that it was a spinal injury, however, none of them were willing to state that the officer was permanently disabled. His claim was denied.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its spinal injury Lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Our worker’s compensation lawyers can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a medical malpractice Lawyer, you could lose precious compensation to help your family.