Our Disability Lawyers help People who Suffer with Life Changing Back Injuries who have been Wrongfully Denied their Long-Term Disability Benefits. Always FREE Consultations and you NEVER pay upfront.
Serious back injuries, including vertebral fractures, disc herniations, and both traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord injuries, can be life-altering events that dramatically disrupt a person’s ability to work and live normally.
For example, vertebral fractures can cause severe pain, reduced mobility, and prolonged periods of rest and recovery, often requiring extensive physical therapy and potentially surgery. Disc herniation, commonly referred to as a “slipped or torn disc”, occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing, which can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. Traumatic spinal cord injuries, resulting from a sudden blow or puncture to the spine, can lead to complete or partial paralysis, while non-traumatic spinal cord injuries might occur over time due to disease or wear and tear.
A back injury can significantly impede productivity at work, often limiting one’s ability to perform physical tasks or sit for extended periods of time. This could potentially lead to reduced work hours, decreased efficiency, or the inability to fulfill work duties. Insurance companies often fail to fully comprehend the profound impact of back injuries on someone’s ability to work and their overall quality of life. As a result, many will reject long-term disability claims related to such injuries, viewing them as less severe or transient. This lack of understanding and subsequent denial can be a significant source of financial stress for the affected individuals.
For those who suffer from a back injury or who have family and friends who have suffered a back injury, it can be a frustrating situation to be in and figure out. If you or a loved one suffers from a back injury that is affecting your ability to work or you are dealing with symptoms of a back injury that are impairing your ability to do your job – contact our back injury disability lawyers Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers today at 1-844-434-7224 or send us a message. We help disability claimants all over Ontario, and our consultations are 100% free.
The human vertebrae form the spine or the vertebral column, an intricate structure that plays multiple pivotal roles in the body. It provides structural support, houses and protects the spinal cord, enables flexible motion, and serves as an attachment point for muscles and ligaments.
The spine is typically composed of 33 individual bones, known as vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other. However, the number can slightly vary among individuals. These 33 vertebrae are divided into five regions from top to bottom: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccyx or tailbone. Each region has a unique structure and function that correlates with the body parts it interacts with and its responsibilities.
The cervical vertebrae are the uppermost seven vertebrae, located in the neck region. They support the skull, enable neck movement, and protect the spinal cord. The next twelve are the thoracic vertebrae, which articulate with the ribs to form the chest region, playing a crucial role in maintaining posture and protecting vital organs. The five lumbar vertebrae follow, which are the largest and bear most of the body’s weight. They are built for both power and flexibility, aiding in movements like lifting and twisting.
Below the lumbar region are the sacral and coccygeal regions, each composed of fused vertebrae. The sacrum, consisting of five fused vertebrae, forms the back of the pelvis and transmits weight from the body to the legs. The coccyx, or tailbone, comprises usually four fused vertebrae, providing a point of attachment for certain ligaments and muscles and serving as a support structure when we sit.
Each individual vertebra consists of a cylindrical vertebral body in front and a vertebral arch at the back, forming a hollow area known as the vertebral foramen. When the vertebrae are stacked, these foramina form the spinal canal, which provides a protective passageway for the spinal cord. Between each vertebra, fibrocartilaginous discs serve as shock absorbers, preventing the vertebrae from grinding against each other and providing flexibility to the spine.
In our experience, life changing back injuries which can cause interference in an individual ability to work mainly fall into 3 categories – vertebrae injuries, disc injuries and spinal cord injuries (traumatic and non-traumatic). The following are some of the more serious injuries which we have seen over the years :
Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs): a traumatic spinal cord injury is a severe, often devastating event that occurs when a sudden, violent blow or jolt damages the delicate tissues of the spinal cord. Depending on the severity and the level at which the injury occurs, the resultant damage can range from temporary dysfunction to permanent disability or paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are classified into two main types: complete and incomplete. In a complete spinal cord injury, there is a total loss of sensory and motor function below the level of the injury. In contrast, an incomplete injury implies that some function remains below the level of injury. The degree of function depends on the extent and location of the damage.
The level at which the injury occurs is crucial in determining the resultant disability. For instance, injuries to the cervical spinal cord (neck region) are typically the most severe. An injury at this level can result in quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, which is the paralysis of all four limbs and the torso. It can also impact breathing and require the individual to use a ventilator.
Injuries to the thoracic region, located in the chest area, can result in paraplegia, which is paralysis from the waist down. While the individual may retain use of their hands and arms, they can lose function in the lower body and legs.
Injuries at the lumbar or sacral levels (lower back and pelvis) may affect one or both legs and possibly some lower body functions, like bowel and bladder control, depending on the extent of the damage.
The consequences of a traumatic spinal cord injury are not just physical. They are indeed life-altering, affecting every aspect of an individual’s life, from self-care and mobility to employment and relationships. Long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence. Additionally, coping with the emotional impact of such a dramatic change can be a significant challenge, requiring psychological support and counseling. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury and have experience long-term disability issues it’s important that you contact our long-term disability lawyers without delay.
Non-Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries: refer to damage caused to the spinal cord not by sudden impact or physical harm, but rather by internal factors, usually over an extended period. These factors can be diseases, infections, or conditions that compress, damage, or disrupt the normal functioning of the spinal cord.
Various causes can lead to non-traumatic spinal cord injuries. These include degenerative disc disease, where the discs between the vertebrae wear down over time, causing pressure on the spinal cord; tumors that develop on or near the spinal cord; infections such as meningitis or polio that can inflame or damage the spinal cord; vascular diseases that might interrupt blood supply to the spinal cord; and conditions such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that progressively damage nerve cells.
The effects of non-traumatic spinal cord injuries on an individual’s ability to work can be profound and vary depending on the location and extent of the injury. Similar to traumatic injuries, non-traumatic spinal cord injuries can result in partial or complete loss of motor and sensory functions below the level of the injury. This could mean difficulty walking or moving, a lack of manual dexterity, and other physical disabilities that could hinder performing daily tasks or job responsibilities.
For instance, a person who has developed paraplegia due to a spinal tumor may be unable to walk and thus may be unable to perform tasks that require mobility. Alternatively, someone who has lost fine motor control due to multiple sclerosis might struggle with tasks that require precision hand movements, such as typing or handling tools.
Additionally, these conditions often come with secondary complications, such as chronic pain, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and respiratory issues, which can further interfere with work productivity and general life quality. The psychological impact of living with a non-traumatic spinal cord injury, including dealing with chronic pain, coping with a loss of function, and adjusting to a new way of life, can also influence an individual’s capacity to work effectively. If you or a loved one suffers from a non-traumatic spinal cord injury and are having a difficult time with your long-term disability carrier, call us today.
Vertebral Fractures: vertebral fractures are breaks in any part of the vertebra, a bone that forms part of the vertebral column. While any vertebral fracture can be serious, some types and locations can be more dangerous due to their potential impact on the spinal cord and nearby structures.
One of the most severe types of vertebral fractures is the burst fracture. This type of fracture occurs when the vertebra essentially explodes under high-energy impact, causing pieces of the bone to disperse in multiple directions. Burst fractures are particularly dangerous because the scattered bone fragments can potentially impinge on the spinal cord and nearby nerves, leading to serious complications such as nerve damage, paralysis, or even death.
Compression fractures, while typically less severe than burst fractures, can also be serious, particularly when they occur in the thoracic region (the middle part of the spine). These fractures can cause the vertebra to lose height at the front while remaining unchanged at the back, resulting in a wedge shape. This can lead to a hunched-forward posture, chronic back pain, and in severe cases, can affect lung function due to the change in chest shape.
Fractures in the cervical region, which is the neck area of the spine, are generally considered high risk due to the critical structures located there. Even a minor fracture in this area can potentially cause damage to the spinal cord resulting in quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) or even death.
Additionally, fractures caused by metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from its original location) are particularly concerning, as they indicate advanced disease and can significantly weaken the spine, making it more susceptible to further injury.
Cauda Equina Syndrome: Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a serious neurological condition caused by compression of the cauda equina, a bundle of nerve roots located at the lower end of the spinal cord. These nerves control and give sensation to the bladder, bowel, and lower limbs. CES is considered a medical emergency as without prompt treatment, it can lead to permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control, and loss of sexual sensation.
The primary symptoms of CES include severe low back pain, sciatica, numbness in the saddle area (the area that would touch a saddle when riding a horse, including inner thighs, buttocks, and back of legs), loss of bowel and bladder control, and weakness or loss of sensation in one or both legs.
Given these symptoms and potential complications, CES can significantly disrupt a person’s ability to work. The physical discomfort and motor impairment associated with CES could limit the individual’s mobility, affecting jobs that require physical activity, including standing, walking, or lifting. Furthermore, urgency or incontinence related to bowel and bladder dysfunction may necessitate frequent and unexpected breaks, which can disrupt work schedules and impact productivity.
Even in a sedentary job setting, chronic pain or numbness might make prolonged sitting uncomfortable, hindering tasks such as typing or operating machinery. Moreover, CES can also have a psychological impact due to the chronic nature of its symptoms and the dramatic changes it can enforce on a person’s lifestyle, potentially leading to reduced focus, increased stress, and overall lower job performance – often leading individuals to stop working and require long-term disability assistance.
However, with timely diagnosis and treatment (usually urgent surgery to relieve the pressure), some individuals can recover from CES or manage the symptoms well enough to continue working. Vocational rehabilitation services, assistive devices, and workplace accommodations can also help individuals with CES remain productive in the workforce.
Disc Problems – Intervertebral discs are like little cushions that sit between the bones in your spine, called vertebrae. They have a tough outer layer and a soft, jelly-like inside. These discs help your back stay flexible so you can bend and twist. They also act as shock absorbers to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other when you move.
Injury to discs are unfortunately not at all that uncommon – the most severe being a disc herniation – also known as a slipped or ruptured disc – occurs when the soft, gel-like center of an intervertebral disc pushes through a tear in the tougher, outer casing. This herniation can put pressure on the surrounding nerves and spinal cord, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body served by those nerves.
Among the most severe forms of disc herniation are those that occur in the lumbar region of the spine, typically between the lower vertebrae (L4/L5 and L5/S1). Because this area bears the most weight and undergoes the most strain with movement, herniations here can cause intense pain. A lumbar disc herniation can lead to sciatica, a condition where the herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, causing pain to radiate down one leg, sometimes even reaching the foot. This pain can be sharp and shooting, often worsening with certain movements like coughing, sneezing, or bending forward.
Cervical disc herniations, while less common, can also be debilitating. When a disc herniates in the neck region, it can cause neck pain and radiate pain down the arm, often accompanied by numbness and tingling. In severe cases, it can even lead to coordination problems, affecting the individual’s ability to perform simple tasks.
Regardless of location, a severe disc herniation can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities, including work and recreation. The associated pain can limit mobility, reduce physical strength, and affect fine motor skills. Chronic pain can also lead to mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, further impacting a person’s quality of life. In some cases, if left untreated, disc herniation can lead to a loss of bowel or bladder control, a symptom of cauda equina syndrome, which is a medical emergency.
We often hear about spinal surgery which occurs to an individual who suffers a traumatic injury or chronic debilitating injuries which, for an individual reaches the point of intolerability. The following back surgeries are some of which our long-term disability lawyers have seen with oiur clients:
Spinal Fusion – is a surgical procedure commonly used to address a variety of painful conditions of the spine. Spinal fusion is often used to treat conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis (a slipping of one vertebra over another), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), scoliosis, fractures, infections, or tumors. The primary aim of this operation is to fuse together two or more vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone. This fusion is intended to eliminate any painful movement between the vertebrae by providing stability and preventing motion at a painful vertebral segment.
The procedure typically involves the use of a bone graft (either from the patient’s body or a donor) along with special metal hardware (such as rods, screws, or plates) to hold the vertebrae together as the graft heals. Over time, the graft will grow between the two vertebrae and create a permanent fusion.
Discectomy – is a surgical decompression procedure performed to remove a portion of an intervertebral disc that has herniated, or protruded out of its normal place, and is compressing a nerve root or the spinal cord. This condition, often called a “herniated” or “slipped disc,” can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the area of the body served by the affected nerve.
Discectomies can be performed at any level of the spine, but are most commonly carried out in the lumbar (lower back) region, where the spinal cord has ended and the nerve roots continue as the cauda equina.
The procedure typically involves a small incision in the midline of the back. The surgeon will then move the back muscles away from the spine and remove a small portion of the lamina, a part of the vertebra, to better visualize and access the disc. The herniated portion of the disc is then removed, thereby relieving pressure on the nerve.
Laminectomy – is a surgical decompression procedure designed to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots exiting the spinal cord. This is achieved by removing or “trimming” a part of one or more vertebral bones, specifically, the lamina. The lamina is the rear part of the vertebra that forms a protective roof over the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Laminectomy is often performed to treat conditions such as spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs, back, neck, or arms. Other conditions that might necessitate a laminectomy include herniated discs, tumors of the spine, or spinal injuries.
After a laminectomy, patients often experience significant relief from symptoms. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications, including infection, bleeding, nerve injury, instability of the spine, and a possible requirement for spinal fusion surgery in the future.
Foraminotomy: is a surgical decompression procedure that aims to relieve pressure on a nerve root that is being compressed as it exits the spinal column through a small bony hole called the foramen. The term foraminotomy breaks down into ‘foramen,’ referring to these small openings, and ‘otomy,’ meaning to remove or open.
This nerve root compression, often referred to as a pinched nerve, can be caused by a number of factors including herniated discs, bone spurs, or thickened joint tissue. The resulting pressure can cause symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness along the path of the nerve.
In a foraminotomy, the surgeon makes an incision in the back or neck over the affected area. The muscles are gently moved aside to expose the spine. Using specialized instruments, the surgeon will then carefully remove the tissue that is compressing the nerve root in the foramen. This can include portions of the disc, bone, or thickened tissue.
Once the nerve root is decompressed, the surgeon will close the incision. Most foraminotomies are done as minimally invasive procedures, which can result in less pain and a quicker recovery time than traditional open surgery.
Laminopplasty: laminoplasty is a surgical decompression procedure performed primarily on the cervical (neck) region of the spine to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. The word “laminoplasty” comes from “lamina” (part of the vertebra) and “plasty” (to shape or form). Unlike a laminectomy, which involves removing the lamina, a laminoplasty involves reshaping the lamina to create more space within the spinal canal.
The procedure begins with an incision down the back of the neck to expose the affected vertebrae. Once the surgeon has access to the spine, they cut a hinge on one side of the lamina and a partial cut on the other side. This allows them to swing the lamina open like a door. Depending on the specific situation, a small piece of bone or a metal implant might be inserted to hold the “door” open, thereby increasing the size of the spinal canal and reducing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
One of the main advantages of laminoplasty over other procedures such as laminectomy is that it preserves the integrity and stability of the spinal structure, reducing the need for spinal fusion. This allows for greater preservation of neck motion after surgery.
Laminoplasty is often recommended for patients suffering from conditions like multilevel cervical stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (a condition where a ligament along the spine turns into bone), or certain types of spinal tumors.
Disc Replacement – artificial disc replacement, or disc arthroplasty, is a type of spinal surgery that involves replacing a painful disc that is causing chronic back pain with an artificial disc. The goal of the procedure is to alleviate pain while preserving motion in the part of the spine being treated.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon first accesses the spine through an incision in the abdomen or the front of the neck, depending on whether the disc to be replaced is in the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) region of the spine. The problematic disc is then removed, and the artificial disc is inserted into the empty disc space. The artificial disc is designed to mimic the movement of a healthy human disc, thereby providing stability and allowing for a range of movements including bending and twisting.
Artificial disc replacement is often considered an alternative to spinal fusion, especially for persons who are younger or more active. While spinal fusion eliminates movement at a specific segment of the spine to alleviate pain, artificial disc replacement aims to preserve motion, which can potentially prevent adjacent segment disease – a condition where the discs above or below a fusion take on extra stress, wear out, and cause pain.
Kyphoplasty – is a type of back surgery that’s done to help repair a bone in your spine that’s been damaged, usually by a fracture. This can often happen due to osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.
During the surgery, the doctor uses a special balloon to create some space in the broken bone. Then they fill up that space with a kind of medical cement. This helps to restore the normal shape and size of the bone and makes it stable again.
The main reasons people have this surgery are to relieve pain from the broken bone, to get back some or all of the lost height in their spine, and to improve their posture. As with any surgery, there are certain risks involved. These might include infection, increased pain, or nerve damage.
A serious back injury can significantly impact a person’s ability to work, and in certain cases, may even necessitate a complete cessation of employment. This can be a result of various physical and psychological factors stemming from the injury.
For starters, conditions like spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis, which involve the narrowing of spaces within the spine, can cause severe and chronic pain, often accompanied by numbness, weakness, and cramping. These symptoms can hinder an individual’s mobility and physical capacity, making it challenging to carry out certain job tasks, particularly those requiring physical exertion.
Nerve pain, radiating pain, neuropathic pain, and sciatica – often characterized by sharp, burning, or stinging sensations that may extend from the lower back down to the legs – can further limit an individual’s ability to maintain focus and productivity at work. According to a 2020 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, about 11% of Canadian adults live with daily pain, with back pain being the most common type. This prevalence suggests a significant impact on workforce productivity and attendance.
Surgeries, although often beneficial in the long run, require considerable recovery time and may impose temporary or permanent physical limitations, affecting a person’s ability to continue working as before. In some instances, despite surgery, some patients may develop persistent pain syndrome or failed back surgery syndrome, where spinal pain of unknown origin persists despite surgical intervention. This continued pain can make a return to work difficult, both physically and mentally.
Finally, the psychological implications of chronic back pain cannot be overlooked. Studies, such as one published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, have shown that severe chronic pain can have a significant psychological impact, creating a cycle that often exacerbates the individual’s overall suffering. The constant pain interrupts daily life and can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, and despair. These feelings can subsequently contribute to the development of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. This connection between chronic pain and depression is well established, with research indicating that individuals dealing with chronic pain are three to four times more likely to experience depression or anxiety.
The persistent nature of chronic pain can also lead to increased stress and anxiety levels which in turn can sleep patterns, cause fatigue, and lead to additional health problems, further compounding the individual’s distress. Chronic pain can also lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Individuals may feel out of control and unable to plan for the future, which can negatively impact their self-esteem and self-worth. Additionally, chronic pain often leads to reduced physical activity and social interactions, contributing to a sense of isolation and loneliness. These factors can, in turn, exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety – all of which complicates an individual’s capacity to work effectively, impacting their concentration, decision-making abilities, and overall productivity.
The answer is that it depends on whether or not you satisfy the definition of “total disability” within the context of your long-term disability policy of insurance. And remember – an experienced long-term disability lawyer will be able to help all of your questions regarding both qualifying for long-term disability and what to do if you’ve been denied long-term disability.
In most instances, the term “total disability” as it relates to disability insurance generally refers to a state in which an individual is completely unable to work due to illness or injury. However, the precise definition can vary based on the terms outlined in the individual’s insurance policy and it often hinges on two specific terms: “own occupation” and “any occupation.”
In an “own occupation” disability insurance policy, “total disability” is defined as the inability of the policyholder to perform the main duties of their own occupation – the job they were doing at the time they became disabled. This definition is generally more favorable to the insured, as it focuses on their ability to perform their specific job. After two years, most, if not all disability policies contain a “change of definition” clause. This means that the policy’s definition of total disability changes from “own occupation” to “any occupation.” Under the “any occupation” definition, a person is considered totally disabled only if they are unable to perform the duties of any occupation for which they are reasonably suited by education, training, or experience.
In order to receive long-term disability benefits for back pain, we are your long-term disability lawyers have the burden of proving that you satisfy the definition of total disability as set out in your particular policy. If your back pain is so severe that it prevents you from peforming the substantial duties of your own occupation or for any occupation which which you are trained by way of 1) education 2) training and 3) experience – then yes, you may be entitled to long-term disability benefits. We recommend setting up a consultation with our long-term disability lawyers to get more information or – if you have been denied your long-term disability benefits.
If you’ve been denied long-term disability and suffer form severe and disabling back pain, please do not wait. Contact our long-term disability lawyers today. Our disability lawyers unbderstand that when an individual is denied their disability benefits, they are often confronted with a sudden and significant loss of income which can seriously interrupt basic needs and financial obligations, such as paying for housing, food, utilities, and medical expenses. The resultant financial stress and insecurity can significantly contribute to the emergence or exacerbate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Uncertainty about the future, the stress of financial instability, and the fear of being unable to provide for oneself or one’s family can all create a significant emotional burden. We understand. We see it day in and day out.
if your disability claim has been denied, contact our Disability Law Firm today. We are here to help you get back the benefits you deserve so that you can focus on your recovery without added financial burdens. Our experienced back injury disability lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients, and we look forward to helping you.
There are several ways to book your free consultation with our back injury disability lawyers:
IF YOUR BENEFITS HAVE BEEN DENIED WE CAN HELPstart your case844-434-7224
VOTED BEST LAWYERS IN CANADA 2018 - 2022
Yes, in many cases you can get long-term disability benefits if you suffer from a back injury and back pain if you meet the definition of “total disability” within your disability insurance policy.
A back injury can affect the capacity your body has for movement and strength. It can significantly impede your work performance, especially if job involved physical labour or long periods of sitting. You may experience difficulties in carrying out tasks due to pain, limited mobility, or reduced concentration from discomfort, potentially leading to reduced productivity and increased absence from work.
Yes, a back injury can be considered a disability so long as you satisfy the definition of “total disability” set out in your long-term disability policy.
Yes, they can. The pain associated with a back injury can quickly become chronic and the symptoms can negatively impact your work performance. The chronic pain may become so terrible that it may affect your ability to continue working. The symptoms of back pain and back injuries can cause mental stress at work, which can negatively impact job performance. The constant discomfort and pain can lead to difficulty focusing.
Yes, you can, but read your disability insurance policy first. You must meet the definition of “total disability” that is laid out in your policy in order to qualify for long-term disability benefits.
Yes, but read your disability insurance policy first. You must meet the definition of “total disability” that is laid out in your policy.
No, do not appeal your denial. Your disability insurance company may try to convince you to appeal your denied disability claim through their internal system, but many claimants will discover that this process is ineffective and a waste of valuable time that simply delays your benefit payment. Contact our back injury disability lawyers instead of appealing.
Yes. Working with an experienced back injury disability lawyer is the best way to go up against your insurance company and fight for what you deserve. Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients, and we look forward to helping you with your denied disability claim. Reach out today to book a FREE consultation. Remember, our back injury disability lawyers only get paid if you get paid.