Know Your Rights
Are you a healthcare worker who became disabled? We understand how a disability or injury could impact your work. It is critical that you get legal guidance from an experienced attorney as early as possible to navigate either the individual or group insurance disability claim process.
Does This Apply to You?
Contact DeBofsky Law for an attorney consultation. We will work with you to determine how we can help.
What Types of Conditions Can Result in a Disability for a Healthcare Worker?
Healthcare workers are subject to the same disabling conditions as the general public – diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety, and a host of other conditions. Likewise, healthcare workers may become disabled due to injuries suffered in an accident that affect their ability to perform their livelihoods. But for many healthcare professionals, illnesses or injuries that may not sideline other types of workers may become career-ending for those who work in the healthcare field.
For example, a minor tremor would prevent a surgeon from working. Likewise, a shoulder impairment could preclude an obstetrician from performing certain types of deliveries or surgeries. Or a vision impairment would make it impossible for an endodontist to safely perform root canals. These examples are representative of matters successfully handled by the healthcare disability attorneys at DeBofsky Law.
For some medical professionals, there are no ergonomic accommodations that would either prevent disability or allow for ongoing work. Dental professionals and surgeons are particularly susceptible to disability because they perform their work with their backs or necks flexed, which puts stress on both the cervical and lumbosacral areas of the spine and takes its toll over time.
Healthcare professionals often work under highly stressful conditions; and speed and accuracy are essential. Professional responsibility makes patient safety and well-being their number one concern; and if they are impaired in any respect, they are unable to continue working. Moreover, many medications used to treat various disorders cannot safely be taken while simultaneously treating patients. Drugs that have sedative properties such as narcotic medication used to treat pain could interfere with safe patient care.
What if the Healthcare Professional Can Continue Performing Some Services but not Others?
This issue often arises when a specialist is no longer able to perform the duties specific to that specialty but can continue to examine patients. For example, this issue may impact surgeons who can no longer perform surgery or obstetricians who cannot deliver babies. So long as the duties of the specialty were regularly performed prior to the onset of disability, the professional should be deemed totally disabled. Depending on the terms of the disability insurance policy, though, income from seeing patients could reduce the benefit payments.
What Other Issues Are Common in Claims Involving Healthcare Professionals?
One issue that can be problematic when a healthcare professional has a disability claim is what is known as “risk of disability.” The issue arises when there is no physical or psychological impediment that would affect the ability to work but being in the work setting could create a risk of serious injury or death to the healthcare professional. One example is a cardiac condition that is highly susceptible to stress, and a return to work could trigger sudden cardiac death. Another is where the healthcare professional is highly immunocompromised and works in a setting with a contagious patient population. That issue has become particularly acute during the Covid-19 pandemic. Disability insurers often resist paying disability benefits for risk of disability; however, legal precedents have recognized that benefits may not be conditioned upon the insured actually suffering serious illness or death, and have ruled that so long as there is a significant risk, benefits are payable.
Another issue that can be problematic is if the healthcare professional has contracted a contagious illness that could potentially infect patients but is otherwise physically and mentally capable of working. Insurers often view that situation as a legal rather than a factual disability, and the courts are split on whether benefits are due in such circumstances.
Healthcare Professionals Are Advised to Seek Legal Representation if They Believe They Have a Claim for Disability Benefits
A healthcare professional who is contemplating seeking disability benefits should seek legal representation at the outset of the claim process. The foregoing discussion should make it clear that subtle disabilities which may not impact other workers could have a catastrophic impact on a healthcare professional’s ability to keep working in their profession. Disability can be difficult to prove, so seeking legal assistance from an experienced disability insurance attorney to help navigate the process can make the difference between a successful disability insurance claim and a claim that is rejected.
Experienced Healthcare Disability Attorneys Defending the Disability Benefits of Healthcare Professionals
It is critical for healthcare professionals to seek legal assistance as early as possible from an attorney who has both the experience and expertise to provide counsel and advice at every step of the process. The healthcare disability attorneys at DeBofsky Law have both the experience and the expertise to assist should the need ever arise.
“It’s a joy to have the process over and a favorable decision issued.”
“Mark – Thank you so much, to you and the team that worked on my case. It has taken me a little bit of time to believe the good news. It’s a joy to have the process over and a favorable decision issued. I am much appreciative of the work and guidance you provided. I felt reassured from our first phone call and more so each time I saw the effort and expertise you brought to my case. Thank you again!”
T. H. | Client
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