Many young men and women dream of one day being a nurse. They envision being able to use their knowledge and talents to assist others who are hurt or ill, not only through the application of medicine but also by supporting them mentally and emotionally. These caring and compassionate people are more than willing to put the needs of others in front of their own health – an act of selflessness which can lead to an early end to the career they had imagined.
What Causes A Nurse To Become Disabled?
Nurses work in one of the most dangerous industries in the country and there are countless ways in which they can be seriously injured. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has indicated that the top five causes of injuries in nurses are:
- Overexertion – lifting supplies or having to suddenly support a patient who is unsteady can lead to serious spinal injuries.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls – in order to keep a hospital clean, nurses and janitors are constantly cleaning, which leads to slippery surfaces. A fall on a hard surface may lead to debilitating injuries.
- Contact with objects – the very tools used to treat patients can be dangerous, such as needles and scalpels. While the prick or laceration the tool may make doesn’t necessary cause the nurse much trauma, if the tool is contaminated, they may contract a serious disease.
- Violence – nurses are attacked by patients all too often. While many of these attacks are done by those who aren’t even aware that they are being aggressive because of their state of mind, that doesn’t mean they can’t do serious harm.
- Exposure to toxic substances – radiation from x-ray machines and exposure to certain chemotherapy medications can cause serious illnesses in nurses.
These accidents can lead to very serious injuries, the most common of which is an injury to the spine or muscles in the back.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDB)?
Many Americans are confused about the benefits that are offered through the Social Security Disability program because they believe that the benefits are only available to those who are retired. However, the program was created to protect ALL U.S. citizens – including those who are unable to work due to injury.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For Benefits?
When reviewing an application for Social Security Disability Benefits, the administration takes five factors into consideration:
Are You Currently Working?
If an injured worker is able to return to work and they make $1130 or more a month, they are generally not considered disabled.
What Is The Condition You Suffer From And Is It “Severe”?
In order for a condition to be considered severe, it has to interfere work related activities and prevent the worker from doing their job.
Is Your Medical Condition Found On The List Of Disabling Conditions?
To try and expedite the process of determining if a condition is disabling, Social Security has created a list of medical conditions which are automatically considered disabling. Any conditions that are NOT found on this list must be reviewed.
Can You Perform Work You Did Previously?
Today, it is rare for an American to stay in one career for their entire lives. In order to be considered disabled, if your medical condition is severe but is not on the list, Social Security must determine if there is a possibility that the injured worker could perform well in a job that they previously held.
Is There Another Type Of Work You Can Perform?
If there is no way for the worker to return to a job they held in the past, it must also be determined that they could not easily transition into a new role.
Unfortunately, the process of applying for these benefits is a long and arduous one and many disabled nurses end up feeling hopeless and financially ruined. Thankfully, our firm is here to help.
How Can A Lawyer Help Me?
Regardless of where you are in the process of applying for SSDB, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney and learn more about how they can help you. There are many benefits to hiring an attorney, some of which include;
Obtaining An Approval The First Time You Apply
Most applicants are applying for social security disability benefits in order to remain financially stable and understandably, they would like the process to go as quickly as possible. Due to their experience and knowledge, an attorney can help you increase your chances in getting the approval through the first application. Without their help, you may be facing more than a year without assistance due to the length of time it takes to review an appeal.
Helping You With An On The Record Decision (OTR)
If the first application has been denied, an attorney can help you obtain an OTR decision. They do this by:
- creating a brief which indicates why you should be able to obtain the necessary benefits
- gather medical records and consult with medical experts who can answer questions regarding medical information that has been requested by Social Security
- speak with the Attorney Adjudicator and give them the merits of your case
Representing You At A Hearing
If the first application and OTR have been denied, the attorney can then represent you at a hearing and can work with you to prepare you for the experience. They can also help you pick witnesses and prepare those witnesses for the hearing.
Determining If You Are Eligible For A Personal Injury Lawsuit
In many cases, if the client has been injured in an accident that was caused by another party, they may be eligible to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit. This is another way in which compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering can be obtained.
What’s The Difference Between An Advocate And A Lawyer?
Social Security disability advocates can be a lawyer – but they don’t have to be. Even without a law degree they are able to offer legal representation to applicants and typically charge the same fees.
In order to become an advocate, an applicant must:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree OR have an equivalent qualification through training and work experience.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Pass a written exam administered by the SSA, and
- Complete continuing education courses.
This is vastly different from the intense study of the law that all attorneys are required to do for years before they are even eligible to take the bar exam.
I Can’t Afford An Attorney
We understand how stressed out our clients already are about their finances. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we don’t get paid until you obtain the compensation that you need. Then, our fees come directly out of the compensation you are given.