Spinal injuries can cause problems that increase over the years from the date of injury. An injury that may not seem too severe at the time of injury can actually become much worse as the years go by. An injured spine is more likely to show signs of degenerative disc disease than one that has not been damaged. When a spinal injury occurs at work, it is especially important to document that injury and have it treated immediately to reduce the effects that the personal injury of the spine will have on ones later years. If a person delays too long in filing an application to receive disability benefits on the basis of a spinal injury, they may be denied. The reason for the inability to file a late claim on a spinal injury can be related to the inability to show a direct correlation to the original injury.
When a spine is injured, arthritis and other degeneration of the bone and cartilage of the spine may concentrate in the area of a prior injury. However, it is not possible to determine if the additional degeneration of the spine is associated with normal aging, or has been made worse by the previous injury. One case of this nature was when a Nassau County Police Officer filed a petition on May 5, 1972 with the New York State Policemen’s and Firemen’s Retirement System.
He claimed that six years previous to the application, he had been injured while attempting to carry an injured man on a stretcher from an apartment building. He claimed that his back struck an elevator door where he was compressed between the door and the stretcher. He stated that he sustained an injury to his spine that included a possible injury to the discs. Six years later, he filed his request for total disability associated with the injury from the accident. He claimed that the result of the accident was that he was not able to perform the duties related to being a patrolman on the police force.