Individuals suffering from neuralgia experience excruciating pain and often find it challenging to maintain a regular work routine or engage in daily activities. If your neuralgia prevents you from working, short or long term disability benefits can be a crucial lifeline, providing much-needed financial support. However, the road to getting your short term or long term disability claim for neuralgia approved can be filled with obstacles, from deciphering complex insurance policies to understanding how to present compelling evidence of your disability to your insurance company.
It can be beneficial to work with an experienced long term disability attorney who understands the complexities of neuralgia claims and can provide guidance throughout the application process. In this article, The Maddox Firm will discuss the challenges of getting short or long term disability for neuralgia and how a long term disability attorney can help you win the benefits you deserve.
Is Neuralgia Considered a Disability?
Neuralgia is a medical term used to describe severe, stabbing, or burning pain along the path of a nerve. It occurs when a nerve is irritated, compressed, or damaged, leading to abnormal signals being sent to the brain which are interpreted as pain. The pain is often described as sharp, shooting, or electric shock-like in nature.
Neuralgia can be both a symptom and a medical condition, depending on the context in which it is used and the underlying cause. As a symptom, neuralgia refers to intense nerve pain that occurs when a nerve is irritated or damaged. In most cases, it’s not a specific diagnosis on its own, just a description of the type of pain felt. However, neuralgia is sometimes considered a medical condition by itself. This happens when doctors can’t find a clear reason for the nerve pain and diagnose it as neuralgia, a condition characterized by unexplained nerve pain.
Types of Neuralgia
The most common types of neuralgia include:
Trigeminal Neuralgia: Also known as tic douloureux, this type of neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for sensation in the face. It can cause sudden and intense facial pain, usually on one side.
Occipital Neuralgia: This type of neuralgia affects the occipital nerves, located at the base of the skull. It can cause pain that radiates from the neck to the back of the head.
Postherpetic Neuralgia: This condition occurs as a complication of shingles (herpes zoster) and can lead to persistent pain in the area where the shingles rash occurred.
Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia: A rare form of neuralgia that affects the glossopharyngeal nerve, causing severe pain in the back of the throat, tongue, and ear.
Neuralgia can be triggered by various factors, such as inflammation, injury, compression, or underlying medical conditions like multiple sclerosis or diabetes. Treatment for neuralgia aims to alleviate pain and address the underlying cause when possible. It may involve medications, nerve blocks, physical therapy, or, in severe cases, surgical interventions to relieve pressure on the affected nerve. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of neuralgia, it’s essential to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and management.
Medical Conditions That Cause Neuralgia
Neuralgia can be caused by various conditions that irritate, compress, or damage nerves, leading to abnormal pain signals. Common conditions that can cause neuralgia include:
Diabetic Neuropathy: Diabetes can lead to nerve damage (neuropathy) over time due to high blood sugar levels. Diabetic neuropathy can cause various types of neuralgia, including peripheral neuropathy affecting the feet and hands.
Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”): MS is an autoimmune disorder that can cause damage to the myelin sheath surrounding nerves. This damage can lead to neuralgia and other neurological symptoms.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): CRPS is a chronic pain condition that can occur after an injury or trauma to a limb. It is believed to involve dysfunction of the nervous system.
Nerve Injuries: Any injury that directly affects a nerve can lead to neuralgia. This can include traumatic injuries, surgical complications, or other forms of nerve damage.
How Do Insurance Companies Evaluate Long Term Disability Claims for Neuralgia?
When evaluating your short or long term disability claim for neuralgia, your insurance company will require proof of your neuralgia symptoms and how they impact your ability to perform your occupational duties. Your insurance company is unlikely to approve your benefits without substantial evidence supporting your claim.
This can be particularly challenging given the nature of neuralgia. People with neuralgia can appear fine on the outside, even though they may be dealing with significant pain and discomfort. This invisibility can make it challenging for others to understand the severity of your condition and the impact it has on your ability to function. Consequently, you may face skepticism from your insurance company when trying to convey the limitations and challenges you face due to your condition.
Due to the subjective nature of pain and the lack of visible physical evidence in many neuralgia cases, your insurance company may question the credibility of your claim and the extent of your disability. They may require extensive medical documentation, including diagnostic tests, expert opinions, and detailed accounts of your symptoms and limitations.
Neuralgia symptoms can also vary widely from person to person and even fluctuate over time. You may have “good” days with your levels of functioning, but also experience times where you cannot perform your job duties due to your pain. Your insurance company may raise doubts about the consistency and predictability of your neuralgia symptoms, wrongly concluding that you are able to work.
When filing a short or long term disability claim for neuralgia, is essential to be prepared for potential challenges. It’s always recommended to consult an experienced long term disability attorney who can effectively advocate for your rights and navigate the complexities of the insurance claim process on your behalf.
What Evidence Can I Submit for My Neuralgia Disability Claim?
Your neuralgia short or long term disability claim must include evidence demonstrating the severity of your symptoms and how they prevent you from working. Providing your insurance company with comprehensive and persuasive medical evidence will increase your chances of benefit approval.
Medical evidence for neuralgia may include:
Medical Records: Submit all relevant medical records from your healthcare providers, including neurologists, pain specialists, and primary care physicians. These records should document your medical history, diagnoses, treatments, and the onset and progression of your neuralgia symptoms.
Diagnostic Testing: Include results from various diagnostic tests that help confirm the presence and extent of neuralgia. Diagnostic testing for neuralgia may include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”) that can identify potential compression or damage to nerves, Computed Tomography (“CT”) Scan to provide detailed images of bones and soft tissues, helping to identify potential sources of nerve irritation, and/or Nerve Conduction Studies (“NCS”) and Electromyography (“EMG”) to assess nerve function and detect abnormalities that may indicate neuralgia.
Opinions from Specialists: Detailed reports from specialists, such as neurologists or pain management experts, can be submitted to your insurance company in support of your claim. The specialist(s) should provide their observations, clinical findings, and professional opinions about the impact of neuralgia on your daily functioning and ability to work.
Treatment Records: Document the treatments you have undergone for your neuralgia, such as medications, nerve blocks, physical therapy, or any surgical procedures. This will demonstrate that you have sought consistent medical care and attempted to alleviate your symptoms.
Functional Capacity Evaluation: A Functional Capacity Evaluation (“FCE”) can play a crucial role in supporting a neuralgia disability claim by providing objective and detailed assessments of your physical capabilities and limitations. During the FCE, a trained evaluator will assess your ability to perform various tasks such as lifting, carrying, bending, and reaching, which may be affected by neuralgia-related pain and limitations. The FCE report can provide compelling objective evidence to your insurance company, further reinforcing the validity of your disability claim.
Pain Journals: Keeping a detailed pain journal can be helpful, where you record the frequency, intensity, and duration of your neuralgia symptoms. While this is considered subjective evidence rather than objective, an ongoing record of your condition adds credibility to any self-reported symptoms of pain and documents the impact of neuralgia on your daily life.
Medication Records: Provide a list of medications you are prescribed for managing neuralgia, including dosages and any side effects you have experienced.
Personal Statement: While objective medical evidence is crucial, the subjective experience of pain is also important in neuralgia claims. You may write a personal statement outlining your background, the history of your neuralgia diagnosis and progression, and how your symptoms prevent you from working. Your own descriptions of how neuralgia affects your daily life, the challenges you face, and the limitations it imposes on your ability to work can be valuable in supporting your disability claim.
Remember, consulting with an experienced disability lawyer can be highly beneficial in compiling and presenting the necessary medical evidence to increase your chances of a successful neuralgia disability claim.
How Can The Maddox Firm Prove My Neuralgia Disability Claim?
If you are filing, appealing, or litigating a short or long term disability claim for neuralgia, an attorney at The Maddox Firm can help prove your claim.
The Maddox Firm has helped hundreds of clients secure their benefits for invisible illnesses like neuralgia. Our experienced team understands how to document and prove your neuralgia symptoms to your insurance company.
Here are a few of the ways The Maddox Firm can prove your Neuralgia disability claim:
Examine Your Policy: In order to get your neuralgia claim approved, you must meet the terms set out in your insurance policy. Disability insurance policy language can be difficult and confusing to understand. A long term disability attorney at The Maddox Firm will examine your policy and explain to you the conditions you must meet to be awarded benefits. We’ll identify any potential roadblocks such as pre-existing conditions clauses or waiting periods in order to customize your claim strategy.
Gathering and Organizing Medical Evidence: The Maddox Firm will work with your treating healthcare providers to obtain your medical records. We comb through these records for any potential red flags or missing information in order to proactively combat them.
Help You Develop Additional Evidence: Your doctors do not keep medical records for the purpose of documenting disability to your insurance company, and oftentimes they may not capture the full scope of your neuralgia symptoms and how they impact your ability to work. The Maddox Firm will help you obtain additional evidence for your claim. This includes coordinating with your specialists for opinion letters that detail all of the limitations and restrictions your neuralgia causes. We can also recommend you for additional testing if needed, such as the Functional Capacity Evaluation. The Maddox Firm can also refer you to trusted vocational experts to conduct a vocational assessment. The vocational assessment can analyze the demands of your occupation and how your neuralgia prevents you from performing your job duties.
Represent You in Appeals and Litigation: If your neuralgia short or long term disability claim is denied or terminated, a long term disability lawyer The Maddox Firm can represent you in the appeals process and, if necessary, litigation. We will prepare a strong appeal that addresses the reasons for the denial and presents new evidence that supports your claim. In litigation, The Maddox Firm can file a lawsuit against your insurance company and represent you in court.
Whether you are looking for assistance in navigating the claims process, appealing a claim denial, or litigating a final adverse decision, The Maddox Firm can help with your neuralgia claim. A long term disability attorney at The Maddox Firm will examine your insurance policy, correspondence from your insurance company, medical records, and any other relevant documentation in order to give you personalized guidance on how we can help you win your neuralgia short and/or long term disability claim.
Contact us to help you file your claim, appeal, or litigation the right way.