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The Types of Work-Related Disabilities Nurses Face

Nearly 3 million nurses work on the frontlines and behind the scenes protecting all of us here in the United States. These essential workers have the skills to heal and treat patients while also supporting other medical professionals. They are regularly in harm’s way, because of the work related hazards faced by nurses and health care professionals even before the devastating coronavirus pandemic. DarrasLaw has recently seen an increase in the number of common disabilities and new injuries reported that prevent nurses from continuing to work.

Before a nurse or healthcare professional files a work-related disability insurance claim, they should know some of the types of injuries that typically trigger disability insurance coverage.

COVID-19. If you have coverage, your disability policy may allow you to make claims on missing disability periods of work due to COVID-19. Though COVID-19 claims are uncharted territory in many respects, some guiding principles exist. For example, if you are a nurse who contracted COVID-19 while working and were ordered into a medical quarantine as a result, short-term disability and then long-term disability coverage may become available to you. A chronic illness, such as a highly contagious pandemic virus, could also trigger your eligibility for social security disability, depending on the severity and length of your disability.

It is important to note that a medical quarantine means you are unable to work and may be too ill to physically perform your responsibilities; this contrasts from a social quarantine, where you could handle administrative work via telecommute or engage in virtual visits.

Since COVID-19 related illnesses and injuries have largely come into prominence in 2020, this area of disability and insurance law will evolve for years, particularly as we learn more about the virus. As previously discussed, COVID-19 related PTSD could trigger disability coverage for frontline nurses and professionals who have been working with patients. DarrasLaw will stay updated on these developments to ensure our advocacy is supported by the most current medical and occupational information.

On-site Accident or Injury. Hospitals, medical offices, facilities and patients’ homes can be hazardous. Handling syringes, encountering agitated or violent patients and working in unsafe or unsanitary spaces are just some of the risks nurses must regularly face. For example, a needle stick could force a nurse to seek medical treatment and stay home or away from the clientele until he/she is medically cleared to return to work.

Nursing injuries are not limited to medical supplies and treatment. DarrasLaw has prosecuted countless long-term disability claims stemming from injuries that occurred in the workplace or even patients’ homes. A bad fall on a slippery floor, for example, can cause tremendous back trauma that could render a nurse unable to work for months or years.

Staph Infection. One of the most common illnesses experienced by nurses is caused by a type of bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus (staph). Staph infections can be contagious and are usually caused by coming in contact with a patient who has a break in the skin or where tubes enter the body. Nurses are unfortunately quite susceptible to staph infections due to the nature of their responsibilities. These infections are frequently characterized by skin disruption, such as boils, and while they are typically not life threatening, they can inhibit a nurses ability to work.

For that reason, nurses whose duties require an on-site presence may be ordered to stay away from the workplace in an effort to protect other patients and healthcare workers, and prevent the spread of infection.

These and many other types of work-related injuries and disabilities are all too common and cause grave hardship as most of our nurses are used to providing care not being disabled. Getting the proper care from a medical practitioner that documents and charts the physical, mental and emotional reasons a nurse can’t work is also important. Letting your doctor know how the medication cognitively impairs your thinking; how sleep disruption leaves you groggy and fatigued, so your critical thinking and judgement is impaired. Gather as much information and documentation as you can, collaborate and create a plan that will maximize your claim.

If you’d like to schedule time to talk to a short or long-term disability insurance attorney, contact our offices immediately. You don’t have to go through the disability claim process alone. To schedule a completely free disability policy analysis and free claim consultation with one of DarrasLaw’s nationally renowned disability insurance attorneys, call us at (800) 898-7299 or contact us online.


DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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