Degenerative disc disease is a serious condition that occurs when one or more of the discs in your spine begins to break down. This condition can cause numbness, tingling, and pain when sitting, bending, lifting, and twisting. These painful symptoms can interfere with your work and make it impossible for you to perform your job duties. For this reason, it’s important to understand whether or not you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative Disc Disease and Aging
Degenerative disc disease often occurs as a natural result of aging. The discs in your spine are initially comprised of 80% water, but they slowly begin to dry out and become less effective as you get older. This natural process can break down discs and lead to degenerative disc disease.
Is Degenerative Disc Disease A Compensable Injury?
The law states that injuries that are caused by aging are not covered by the workers’ compensation system. Since degenerative disc disease is related to aging, this means that most people with this condition are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, there is one exception. The workers’ compensation system does not cover aging-related injuries, but it does cover the aggravation of aging-related injuries.
For example, let’s say you are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. You are typically able to manage your symptoms, but after a slip and fall accident at work, the pain is severe. The workers’ compensation system would not cover your degenerative disc disease since it was caused by aging, but it would cover the aggravation of this condition caused by the work-related fall.
How to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Degenerative Disc Disease
You cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits unless you can show that your degenerative disc disease has worsened as a result of your work. The insurance company will not take your word for it, so you must be prepared to provide medical evidence.
A treating physician must clearly confirm that your condition has worsened and must establish an identifiable and significant aggravation of a pre-existing injury which incurred in the course and scope of employment. Imaging tests such as MRIs can also be used to show how the damage to your discs has significantly worsened.
Are you suffering from work-related degenerative disc disease? If so, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Our attorneys have the resources and experience to win complex workers’ compensation cases that involve the aggravation of pre-existing injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.