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ERISA Law

Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

June 19, 2020

The process for getting your long-term disability (LTD) benefits for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can be difficult, time-consuming, and stressful.  You should be able to easily file your claim and start receiving the disability benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.  Unfortunately, wrongful denials by insurance companies are far too common and the process of appealing such a denial can be taxing.

At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, our team of attorneys and professionals can take the burden off of you, allowing you more time to focus on your health and your family.  We apply our knowledge and experience in handling ERISA and non-ERISA LTD claims and can fight the insurance company on your behalf to get you the benefits you deserve.  Contact us now at 401-331-6300 for a FREE consultation and see if we are able to fight for you.

Understanding Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a group of conditions that occur when the blood vessels or nerves between the collarbone and first rib are compressed. This can cause pain and numbness in the shoulders, arms, and fingers. Thoracic outlet syndrome is often caused by a traumatic injury, such as a fall or a car accident, but can also be the results of repetitive job or sports-related injuries, anatomical defects like having an extra rib, or pregnancy.  Unfortunately, doctors are not always able to determine the cause of Thoracic outlet syndrome for patients.

There are three main types of Thoracic outlet syndrome.  The most common is neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, which is characterized by the compression of the brachial plexus, or the network of nerves that run from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and hands and control their movement and sensation.  There is also vascular thoracic outlet syndrome, which occurs when one or more veins or arteries are compressed.  Finally, there is nonspecific-type thoracic outlet syndrome, which not all doctors believe exists.  This type is often characterized by chronic pain in the thoracic area, which typically worsens with activity, but does not have a specific cause.

While symptoms can vary depending on the type of Thoracic outlet syndrome you have, you will generally experience pain in the neck, shoulders, or hands, tingling in the hands or fingers, weakened grip, arm fatigue, typically with activity, and discoloration in the hands or fingers.  Because the symptoms can vary from person to person, Thoracic outlet syndrome is often difficult to diagnose.  Your doctor will likely ask for your medical history and perform a physical exam, usually including provocation tests, or tests that are designed to reproduce the symptoms you experience.  During the exam, your doctor may ask you to perform various movements and examine you in different positions.  Your doctor is also likely to order imaging or nerve study tests such as MRIs, CT scans, and EMGs before diagnosing you with Thoracic outlet syndrome.

Treatment for Thoracic outlet syndrome typically involves physical therapy and pain management.  Your doctor may also recommend changes in your daily activities such as taking more breaks in order to stretch in between tasks, maintaining good posture and a healthy weight, avoiding carrying and lifting heavy objects, and avoiding or adapting activities that tend to exacerbate your pain.  In more serious cases of Thoracic outlet syndrome, or for cases where symptoms are not treated early on, nerve damage could occur and surgery may be required.

How CCK Can Help You Obtain Long-Term Disability for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

CCK can help at every stage of your claim process, whether that is an initial claim, an appeal, or court litigation, however, many clients reach out to CCK at the appeal level.  The appeal stage is very important because, in ERISA-governed claims, it is the claimant’s last opportunity to submit supportive evidence into the record before heading to court.  We use our knowledge and expertise of ERISA, the U.S. Department of Labor Regulations, and various insurance policies to fight the insurance company for the benefits you deserve.

One of the most important pieces of evidence in a disability claim is detailed medical records and, when necessary, compelling reports from treating doctors.  It is important to speak with your doctors about your condition, symptoms, and the limitations and impairments that you experience day to day.  For example, you should typically ask your doctors to document their exam findings, any medication changes and side effects, your symptoms, and their observations in your medical treatment records.  Most doctors want to help; however, they are often busy with the high demands of their medical practice. CCK can work with your doctors in order to get strong medical evidence into the record.

Once we gather your medical records and analyze the insurance company’s denial letter, policy, and claim file to determine if any mistakes were made during the handling of your claim, we develop the best strategy for gathering any additional testing, expert opinions, reports from your doctors, or witness statements from your friends and family.  Then, we write a comprehensive appeal explaining to the insurance company the reasons why you meet your policy’s definition of disability and are entitled to benefits.  Our arguments are always based on and supported by the medical evidence in your claim file, as well as the evidence that was gathered during the investigation stage of the process.

Contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD

Contact us today at 401-331-6300 for a FREE consultation regarding your LTD claim or appeal. Let us put our years of experience in your corner.