Nurses must often perform difficult physical jobs that require mental acuity and concentration in emotionally trying circumstances. In addition, they are exposed to infection from needle sticks and other sources. The result can be a disabling injury, anxiety or depression, or an occupational disease.
At DarrasLaw, we are advocates for nurses who suffer disabling injuries and diseases. We provide results-oriented representation in cases involving denied disability claims and termination of benefits.
Contact DarrasLaw for a free consultation with an attorney.
Nurses Going on Long-Term Disability for PTSD
The National Institutes of Health surveyed 332 nurses for post-traumatic stress disorder and burnout syndrome (PTSD and BOS, respectively). Of the nurses who took the survey—it was distributed to over 800—22 percent exhibited PTSD symptoms and eighty-six percent of them met the diagnostic criteria for BOS. The study found that 98 percent of those who met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD also met the diagnostic criteria of BOS.
As the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak leaves emergency rooms and hospitals across the country overwhelmed, understaffed, and undersupplied, more medical professionals than ever are feeling the trauma of the patient care profession. These health related vocations are challenging careers even for the most tireless, empathetic and resilient caregivers. If you are a nursing professional who may be suffering from PTSD or are fatigued, overwhelmed, anxious or depressed you should know that help is available.
Post-Traumatic Syndrome and Burnout Syndrome
PTSD is most commonly associated with combat veterans. However, many other professionals can suffer from PTSD. Traumatic events and extreme stress that causes feelings of helplessness, horror, or fear cause this relatively common and debilitating psychiatric disorder.
Burnout syndrome happens when you have many emotional and/or interpersonal stressors at work. Characteristics of BOS include:
- Little to no acknowledged personal accomplishment
- Becoming overwhelmed by occupational duties
- Having impersonal feelings toward those you care for
Burnout can quickly lead to major depression which brings its own set of disabling restrictions and limitations.
Because PTSD is debilitating and causes an inability to perform the important duties of their occupation, nurses may need to file a claim for an individual or group long-term disability insurance or in extreme cases a disability claim along with a longterm care claim.
ERISA Makes Nurses’ Claims Complicated
If you are covered by group long-term disability insurance, a complex web of federal laws called ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act) generally governs your policy.
For a successful outcome in an ERISA lawsuit, you must timely and adminstratively appeal any denial with a comprensive summary of the ERISA case law from the federal circuit where you live. Your appeal must objectively refute each and every one of the carriers reasons for denial. All medical, occupational and financial proof must be submitted as there is no discovery in an ERISA lawsuit. There is no trial and generally no new evidence other than the appeal allowed.
Our award-winning long-term group disability attorneys understand ERISA and the medical conditions with which you are struggling. We can help you and your treating doctors present the proper objective and subjective medical and occupational evidence to your disability carrier. Top-rated long-term individual disability lawyers, such as those at DarrasLaw, can help frame your medical issues so that your disability carrier understands the severity of the PTSD or depression symptoms you are experiencing.
Some nurses file their initial disability claims without the help of a seasoned, national and highly skilled attorney. While some may prevail, many others may not, depending on several factors, including the disability carrier, the evidence you submit, and timeliness of the appeal.
If you receive a denial, you will need to file an administrative appeal timely and comprehensively with your insurance company. The administrative appeal will need to include all of the compelling medical evidence, vocational, financial and occupational and proof you need to prevail.
If your insurance company denies your administrative appeal, you can seek experienced disablility counsel on how to file an ERISA federal lawsuit. There, you generally can’t submit additional evidence—you can only use the medical records, statements, and documentation you and your carrier used in the underlying claim and your group administrative appeal.
This is why you must timely file a comprehensive, legally and medically complete, bullet-proof administrative appeal. A top-rated ERISA attorney at DarrasLaw can prove invaluable during this time.
Unlike with group long-term disability insurance, if you have individual disability insurance that you purchased through an agent or broker, you have many legal rights and consumer protections lacking under ERISA. You may generally take your bad-faith denial straight to the courts without filing an administrative appeal. There, you may submit evidence, use discovery to get insurance company documents, call witnesses on your behalf, cross-examine the insurance company’s witnesses, and try your case before a judge or jury. In addition, you may depending on where you live seek emotional distress and punishment damages along with attorney fees with your jury trial.
Nurses Most Affected by PTSD and Depression
Any nurse, whether in-patient or out-patient, and regardless of which department he or she works in, can suffer from PTSD or depression. The previously mentioned survey showed that nurses who work in intensive care are more susceptible to PTSD and/or BOS. In cases where nurses see many of the same types of cases, such as with a pandemic like the coronavirus, worries about bringing the virus home to loved ones, in addition to the already-present stressors of nursing, also rests heavily on their minds and may result in disabling depression.
If your original claim with your disability carrier was denied or you are ready to file an initial claim, contact DarrasLaw today for our completely free disability policy analysis and free claim consultation.
Nationwide Representation for Nurses and Medical Professionals
DarrasLaw is America’s top disability firm. We are nationally recognized for our advocacy skills, experience and medical knowledge. We have the resources needed to represent you, including our own full-time medical consultant, as well as a vast array of physician experts and independent medical examiners we can call upon in complex cases.
We consult frequently with vocational rehabilitation experts and financial consultants with expertise in complicated disability claims. Our law firm has experience challenging all of the major disability insurance companies and the resources to advocate vigorously for your rights.
Premature Termination of Benefits — Disability Claim Denials for Nurses
If you have disability insurance from your employer, you may have 180 days or less from the date of the claim denial in which to file an appeal. Get legal help today.
Are you a Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse, Nursing Assistant or other nursing professional who can no longer perform your demanding occupation due to disability? If your claim has been denied or you have been told that your benefits will be terminated or limited to only 24 months, talk to a lawyer at our firm. If we believe that you have been treated unfairly, we can represent you.
Many nurses suffer from back pain, caused by repeated lifting of patients, repositioning them or moving heavy objects. Others experience severe emotional distress, debilitating mental conditions, or alcohol or drug dependency. Regardless of the cause of your disability, if it prevents you from performing your occupational duties, you need help. DarrasLaw will be your strong advocate, working diligently to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Review: 5/5 – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Thank you for your expertise and persistence with my case! I really appreciate all of your time and effort it was a pleasure working with your law firm!”
– Kristina G.
Free Consultation With an Attorney
Contact DarrasLaw for a free initial consultation about a nursing disability claim.