The lawyers at Aaron Waxman & Associates are experienced with Disability, Personal Injury and Employment claims.
As long-term disability lawyers, we know there are various types of injuries and illnesses, be it physical, psychological, or a combination of both that can render a person unable to work. One such condition is post-traumatic stress disorder.
This blog will discuss:
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can develop after an individual has experienced, witnessed or been repeatedly exposed to a major trauma.
It is felt that certain types of professions including police officers, paramedics, firefighters and soldiers (collectively known as “first responders”) have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder compared to other professions.
PTSD is also a type of operational stress injury which is defined as any persistent psychological difficulty resulting from operational duties such as law enforcement, combat or any other service related duties. People who experience high levels of operational stress injury are at a greater risk of developing depression, anxiety or PSTD.
First responders are not the only group of people who are susceptible to PTSD. As PTSD is a response to traumatic life events, victims of car accidents, fires, violent crimes, workplace stress or bullying or who have witnessed a family member or friend or another person harmed or killed can develop PTSD.
Examples of trauma given by Anxiety Canada include exposure to:
It is explained that exposure can mean:
Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD but many factors play a part in whether or not someone will develop the disorder. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, factors like having experienced previous trauma, having a history of mental illness or post-traumatic stress disorder, having little or no social support after the traumatic event or experiencing other stressors after the event increase a person’s risk of developing PTSD.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, symptoms of PTSD can include:
How PTSD Might Affect Your Ability to Work
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can be debilitating and cause significant functional impairments. PTSD affects your ability to sleep, focus and concentrate, ability to interact with others, ability to focus and concentrate, ability to participate in society and to function in general.
When sleep is impaired, the ability to focus and concentrate is impaired and memory is affected. Some people become severely depressed and anxious, and some people may develop physical symptoms.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can impact your ability to perform physical work, safety sensitive work and sedentary work.
What to know When Making a Claim for Disability Benefits
Mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder are often misunderstood by insurance companies.
PTSD falls into the category of illnesses/conditions that are often described as “invisible illnesses” or “invisible disabilities (think mental illnesses, fibromyalgia and chronic pain conditions). This is because objective tests like x-rays and bloodwork cannot confirm your diagnosis or provide proof of/an explanation for all of your symptoms, making it a challenge to prove your inability to work to your insurer.
If you have PTSD and are applying for short-term or long-term disability benefits, you should document how your treatment is going with your doctor, specialist or therapist and follow the treatment recommendations. Even if your claim is denied, it is always important to continue your treatment. These are important steps for your claim.
Reasons an Insurance Company Might Deny Your Claim
You may receive a letter from your insurance company telling you your application has been denied or your benefits are being terminated for one or more of the following reasons:
Why Should I Contact a Lawyer if My Claim Was Denied?
Receiving a denial letter can be upsetting and frustrating. The terminology used in the letter may be unfamiliar to you and you may want clarification as to what certain terms mean and what your next steps should be.
Your insurance company gives you the option to appeal their decision through their own internal process (you can usually have up to 3 chances to appeal). You might go through all levels of appeal and not achieve the result you desire.
An experienced disability lawyer can help you understand what your rights are and what your options are. You can retain a lawyer as soon as you receive a denial letter and commence a court action. You do not have to wait to exhaust all appeal levels before you hire a lawyer and commence a lawsuit. Your lawyer can start a lawsuit and get your case into the court system as soon as possible.
If your short-term or long-term disability claim has been denied for any reason, do not hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation. We will work with you to find a date and time that is convenient for you.
* This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute legal advice. Please read our disclaimer for further information.
* All of our lawyers are licensed by The Law Society of Upper Canada
* Office in Toronto and able to represent people in the province of Ontario