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Long-Term Disability Lawyers Discuss Complications Due to Long Periods of Immobilization

a man immobilized in his hospital bed as he recovers after an accident

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you recognize and build a claim for compensation not just for your initial injury (e.g., a broken bone or soft tissue injury), but also for complications due to extended periods of immobilization related to the initial injury.

Lawyers who represent clients injured in motor vehicle accidents and long-term disability lawyers know that initial injuries can often be made worse by prolonged periods of immobilization. Immobilization can lead to chronic problems.

What is immobilization and how does it cause complications?

Here are some of the ways that complications due to immobilization may arise:

  • Use of a sling, cast, or “air cast boot” to immobilize an injured area during recovery may result in loss of range of motion, muscle atrophy (also known as muscle wasting), and/or decreased blood flow to the injured soft tissues. It may also result in the healing of damaged muscles in short positions that makes them less flexible. In many cases, these complications can become chronic.

  • In the same way, post-operative immobilization (i.e., immobilization after surgery) may lead to complications including secondary contractures of the muscles in the affected area, loss of range of motion, and muscle wasting.

  • Postural changes and holding static postures due to pain can also produce the same result (put another way, where the injured person holds their body in a different way after an injury due to pain, it can cause ongoing complications).

  • Prolonged periods of bed rest or hospitalization may result in decreased muscle strength, permanent structural changes to the nerves and muscles (which affect co-ordination and balance, and increases the risk of falls), and loss of bone density (particularly in the leg bones because they are not being used for their normal weight-bearing function).

  • If an injured person has a pre-existing condition such as arthritis, an injury to muscles or bones can cause the arthritis to flare up secondary to the injury and the subsequent immobilization, which in turn can cause pain and restricted joint movement.

How should the effects of immobilization be factored into compensation?

An injured person is entitled to receive compensation for all injuries caused by an accident, which includes complications related to immobilization. In each case, this will be a question of proof – the injured person will need to provide medical evidence to prove that initial injuries were made worse by prolonged periods of immobilization, that the immobilization caused chronic symptoms, and/or that the immobilization exacerbated pre-existing problems or conditions. An experienced long-term disability lawyer or personal injury lawyer can help an injured person gather the medical evidence needed to substantiate entitlement to increased compensation to account for such complications. Lack of active rehabilitation following initial injury and/or periods of immobilization can also leave an injured person with permanent problems such as reduced range of motion and decreased muscle strength. An experienced long-term disability lawyer or personal injury lawyer can help if the insurance company denies coverage for the costs of rehabilitation which could prevent chronic problems from developing. A lawyer can also help defend your claim if the insurer attempts to reduce compensation by arguing that you are responsible for problems caused by immobility (e.g., if the insurance company takes the position that you caused the ongoing complications by not participating in active rehabilitation or engaging in a recommended treatment plan).

Legal Guidance & More: From Injury to Recovery

Bronson Jones & Company lawyers have extensive trial experience and extensive experience in negotiating fair settlements for long-term disability claims. We have also developed an extensive network of medical and occupational specialists, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and others to help you recover and deal with the impact of your illness or injury on your physical health, family life, finances and future. Reports from these experts may be essential in the development of your case. If you or a loved one requires assistance with a long-term disability claim, call any of the 13 Bronson Jones locations in the Lower Mainland for our expertise and advice. All of our cases are handled on a contingency (percentage) basis and you don’t pay until we collect. Contact us today to get started!

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