Attorneys for Long Term Disability for Lyme Disease
In 1975, doctors began noticing that an unusual number of children in Connecticut were suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. For several years, there was no medical reason for this peculiar cluster of illnesses. Then in 1981, a doctor studying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a tick-borne fever common in western states, realized that the same type of bacteria, called a spirochete, was also responsible for Lyme disease on the east coast.
Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics if it’s recognized right away. If not, it can result in a puzzling and debilitating condition now known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). Doctors and insurance companies have difficulty recognizing and treating this condition. If you believe you have Lyme disease or this related condition and have been denied insurance, you should contact the long term disability for neurological and cognitive disorders attorneys of Abell and Capitan Law at (267) 419-7888 right away so that we can begin working on getting you the compensation you need.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria is carried by a small tick known as the eastern deer tick or the western blacklegged tick. These ticks are very small, about the size of a sesame seed.
Once bitten, a person may experience fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph glands. About 75 percent of people may have a “bullseye” rash at the site of the bite. These symptoms fade in about two to three weeks. During this symptomatic period, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.
If untreated, the disease progresses to “late” Lyme disease. In this stage, you may experience some or all these symptoms: serious headaches and neck stiffness, arthritis and swelling of the large joints (knees and elbows), intermittent pain in the joints and tendons, irregular heartbeat or palpitations (“Lyme carditis”), and neurologic complications (“neurologic Lyme disease”).
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) is believed to be caused by an auto-immune response possibly triggered by the bacterium itself since the symptoms are similar to other auto-immune diseases. The symptoms include pain, fatigue, difficulty thinking (“brain fog”), and neurological disorders. There is no definitive treatment for PTLDS.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Lyme Disease
There are several difficulties in filing a long-term insurance claim for either late-stage Lyme disease or PTLDS.
- For any insurance claim to be made, proof of treatment must be shown. Because the initial bite and illness, although readily treatable, are easy to overlook or misdiagnose as a bad cold or flu, you may not realize you have contracted the disease until after the treatment period has passed.
- Because the disease is initially easy to treat, many insurance carriers will not recognize it as a chronic, disabling condition. Common grounds for denial of any claim are “failure to mitigate,” that is, you failed to take reasonable steps to prevent or lessen your disability. This overlooks the non-specific nature of the onset of Lyme disease.
- There are no easy tests to confirm you have or had Lyme disease. Once the disease has progressed past the “early” stage and into late-stage joint and nerve damage, tests for the presence of the bacteria may be inconclusive. Antibody tests are available but are not necessarily conclusive that you are suffering from the disease.
- Finally, there is the difficulty of proving that your symptoms prevent you from working according to the terms of your long-term disability insurance policy. If your policy does not recognize your symptoms as automatically disabling, you will need to show that they prevent you from carrying out your work as required.
What You Need to Do
The first thing you should do if you believe you have symptoms consistent with Lyme disease is to see a doctor. You may need to see an infectious medicine specialist if you think it has been some time since you were infected, and you need to prove that this is a long-term or chronic case.
For instance, when the first case of Lyme disease was definitively diagnosed in 1983, doctors wondered if this was a brand-new disease that had just emerged on America’s east coast. They found to their surprise, that as far back as the 1940’s a type of arthritis called “Montauk knee,” blamed on spider bites, had been known to doctors.
After that, you should seek legal counsel. Proving that your disability is related to Lyme disease will require showing that your symptoms are specifically related to the illness. Unless you were treated at the time you were bitten by a tick, you will need to be able to show:
- You were in an area known to be infested with the tick that transmits the bacteria
- You experienced symptoms consistent with early-stage Lyme disease that was misdiagnosed or disregarded as another illness
- You are now experiencing symptoms known to be consistent with late-stage Lyme disease that cannot be attributed to any other cause
- These symptoms prevent you from working
If you believe that Lyme disease is likely the cause of your symptoms and inability to work, then you should be given the time and the compensation you need to recover from your illness. Late-stage (untreated) Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but the remaining damage may require additional treatment or therapy. PTLDS may slowly improve over a period of months or even years. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
How We Can Help
To file an insurance claim for Lyme disease or to appeal a claim that has been denied, you should have knowledgeable legal counsel at your side that consistently produces results. At Abell and Capitan Law, we believe that you should receive the insurance you paid for if you need it. You should not have to suffer because the insurance company thinks your disease is “easy to treat.” If you believe that Lyme disease is the cause of your current inability to work, you need an aggressive disability attorney in your corner.
Contact Abell and Capitan Law right away if your disability claim has been denied. We will help you gather the evidence you need to appeal your claim. Call (267) 419-7888 for a confidential consultation about your case today.