Strokes and Denied Long-Term Disability

Suffering from a stroke may lead to short or long term physical and/or cognitive deficits requiring intense rehabilitative treatment.  Even with proper medical treatment, a stroke can unfortunately cause enough damage and residual symptoms to the body to cause a permanent disability and rendering a person unable to work.

How does a stroke normally occur?

A stroke normally happens when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds, or when the blood supply to the brain is blocked. The rupture or blockage then prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain’s tissues, which can cause significant damage to the brain cells. This is a severe medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. If this treatment is not obtained, the individual is at risk for death, paralysis, impaired cognitive and motor function, and/or severe brain damage.  Symptoms of a stroke show up in the body parts controlled by the damaged areas of the brain.

Stroke does not discriminate according to age or gender. Anyone is at risk, from childhood to elderly adulthood.  If a stroke occurs while you are at prime working age, it could have a detrimental impact on your income earning potential and retirement savings.  Causes of strokes are typically caused by risk factors such as an unheatlhy diet, inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, genetics and certain medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disorders, an enlarged heart and diabetes.

If you or a loved one have suffered from a stroke that has left you incapable of working, you may be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits. However, when those benefits are unreasonably denied or cut off, life can become frustrating and financially difficult. When this occurs, there are options available and you do not have to accept your denial. Talk to a Hamilton disability lawyer for assistance in getting your disability benefits back on track.  Our disability lawyers serve claimants Province-wide at all stages of wrongfully denied long-term disability.

Types of Strokes

There are three main types of strokes that could occur: ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, or transient ischemic attack. Each comes with its own levels of severity and risk for permanent damage or death.

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot or blockage in the blood vessels, usually from a buildup of plaque on the artery. It occurs either in an artery in the brain or in the heart, where it may end up traveling through the bloodstream. This is the most common type of stroke – according to the Mayo Clinic, 80% of strokes are ischemic strokes.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

This type of stroke is caused when an artery in the brain actually breaks open, through a leak or rupture, which in turn interrupts blood flow and causes significant damage to the brain. One of the major causes of hemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure. Some other causes may include aneurysm or overuse of blood thinners.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

The least severe type of stroke, a transient ischemic attack is sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke or warning stroke. It occurs when a small blood clot briefly blocks an artery and interrupts blood flow temporarily. A TIA lasts less than an hour, and in some cases may only occur for a few minutes. However, just because these attacks are not as severe does not mean they should be overlooked. TIAs are still a medical emergency and can be a warning sign that a large stroke could occur very soon.

Stroke and Total Disability

After a stroke, an individual may not be able to return to work due to the significant amount of brain damage they have suffered. These individuals are often limited in functionality, particularly regarding motor functions and cognitive functions. In fact, approximately 90% of individuals who have a stroke suffer from some type of impared function. This makes it difficult for those individuals to be able to work or perform the duties of an occupation safely.

Another risk factor that can impact work ability is stroke-induced dementia. Stroke can be a direct cause of dementia at any age, and can double the risk of developing early onset dementia. When an individual has dementia, they often suffer from limitations and impairments to cognitive function that are important for many, if not most, occupational positions. This includes problem solving skills, memory function, ability to multitask, organizing and processing information, reasoning and logic, and other issues.

In addition to physical and mental inability to perform the functions of their occupation, individuals who have suffered from strokes are also often required to seek out treatments and continuous health care services. These services may be time consuming and prevent them from keeping to a regular work schedule.

Our Disability Lawyers can Help if youve been denied your long-term dsiability benefits.

Stroke is often covered under a long-term disability insurance policy, but you will need to provide proof that you sufer a total disability are incapable of returning to performing the substantial suties of your employment. If your insurance carrier determines that you are able to return to work, they may decide to deny or cut off your benefits. Often, this may occur after a two-year period of disability benefits, as your insurance policy may undergo a Change of Definition from being unable to work your own job, to being unable to work any job. At this time, you will be required to prove that you cannot work any occupation related to your training, field of work or study, pay grade, or educational level.

Your insurance carrier will perform its own investigation using a team of specialists and professionals. It is therefore important that you work with a Hamilton disability lawyer to build a strong claim in your defense. We work with a team of top medical professionals and occupational specialists throughout Ontario who will provide a strong case that you cannot return to work.

If you have suffered a stroke and have been denied or cut-off long-term disability benefits, feel free to book a free consultation with our experienced disability lawyers to go over the details of your case and determine your options. We have represented clients throughout Ontario since 2003, and have recovered millions of dollars in wrongfully denied disability benefits. Contact us at 905-333-8888 or through our online contact form tooday.

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