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LONG-TERM DISABILITY
FOR BURN VICTIMS

Beedem Law April 18, 2022

One in every four Americans entering the workforce will face a disabling condition at least once before retirement, and the average time away from work to deal with the condition is almost three years, according to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA).

For this reason, many working adults buy long-term disability (LTD) policies, whether through a benefit offered at work or from a private insurer. LTD policies generally will pay a preset percentage of your employment compensation should you go out on disability.

The most common type of disability derives from musculoskeletal disorders, including arthritis, back pain, spine/joint disorders, and fibromyitis. Illnesses like cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes are also big contributing factors.

But what if your condition derives from burns or complications from being burned that prevent you from working? Will your LTD policy cover that as well? Like any other condition that keeps you from working, the insurer underwriting your policy will need documentary evidence from medical and other professionals to evaluate your claim.

If you are a burn victim in or around Minneapolis, Minnesota, who needs to file a disability claim with your LTD provider, contact the long-term disability attorneys at Beedem Law. In addition to Minneapolis, we proudly serve clients in St. Paul, Duluth, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Anoka County, and throughout the state.

Long-Term Disability Insurance Basics

Every LTD policy contains provisions that pertain to how you can qualify for disability benefits and for how long you can receive those benefits. First off, the policy will pay only a portion of the wages you were earning immediately prior to your disability, usually in the range of 60 to 80 percent.

Every policy also has what is called an elimination period, or waiting period, which can range from 60 to 180 days. The clock starts ticking from the day you first miss work. In basic terms, during the elimination period, you will not receive any benefits for your disability.

Each policy has a coverage limit. Some policies may pay benefits for two, five, or ten years, others until the age of retirement. Some even have a provision for a return to work on a reduced schedule.

Long-term disability insurance covers a large spectrum of conditions, ranging from bodily injuries to chronic illness to mental health. You need to read the fine print of your policy to understand the limitations and discover whether there are any exclusions, including for pre-existing conditions.

Common Types of Burns
and Their Consequences

Burns are generally classified as first, second, or third degree. First-degree burns are the least serious, affecting only the outer layer of skin, and they generally do not cause any health complications. Though the skin may burn and look red, no blistering will occur.

Second-degree burns affect not only the outer layer of the skin but also the outer layer of the dermis, which contains blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands, hair follicles, and other structures. Second-degree burns do blister, and they can ooze out clear fluid and cause scarring that can restrict your movement.

Third-degree burns are the most serious, affecting the underlying muscle or bone in addition to the skin and dermis. The skin can become leathery and discolored, and significant health complications can result, including muscle tissue damage, kidney damage, infection, and thick, crusty skin that can choke off the blood supply to other parts of the body.

Qualifying for LTD Benefits

To qualify for long-term disability benefits as a burn victim, the burns you suffered must have made it impossible for you to continue doing the work you performed at your job prior to the incident. Generally, this means that the burns resulted in damage to a major bodily function or perhaps resulted in debilitating skin lesions. In either case, you will need to be under the care and treatment of a physician or medical group.

As with any claim for disability benefits, you will need to provide your insurer with what is deemed “sufficient medical evidence.” This usually means supplying more than just a physician’s statement with your claim form. You may also need to supply X-rays or test results. If you are undergoing vocational rehabilitation, you should also supply information about that.

Some claimants even include written testimony from family members and close friends who describe the condition they are in and the limitations it places on them.

Experienced Guidance You Can Trust

If your claim is denied or your benefits are later reduced or halted, contact Beedem Law. We proudly serve clients in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, and Anoka. Call today for a free consultation.