Hip Arthroplasty (or hip replacement as it is commonly referred to) is a very common surgical procedure in the United States. The number of hip replacements for people over the age of 40 continues to grow. Reasons vary from the growing number of people with obesity to confidence in the procedure through word of mouth to treat arthritis.
Although success rates for hip replacements are good, not all hip replacements end well. The residual effects and symptoms of a hip replacement failure can leave you out of work. If so, you may be eligible to receive long term disability (LTD) benefits.
In this article, we cover:
- What is Hip Arthroplasty?
- Symptoms of an Unsuccessful Hip Replacement
- Filing for long term disability after a Hip Replacement Failure
What is a Hip Replacement?
A hip replacement is a surgical procedure that removes the affected part of the hip joint and is replaced with an artificial joint. The most common reason for hip replacement is chronic arthritis and decreased mobility. Most patients are still experiencing pain after exhausting all other remedies such as physical therapy, medications, and steroids, so they receive a hip replacement in the hopes of easing their pain.
While most hip replacement surgeries are successful, about 10% are not. If you are unfortunately among that 10%, you can experience long term problems. The recovery period for a hip replacement is long. It could take a year to bear weight on that leg. If you are in a profession that requires that you spend a large portion of your day walking, you may not be able to return to work until you are completely cleared for duty. This could extend well beyond one year. Your inability to stand or walk may entitle you to long term disability benefits.
If you experience any of these symptoms after your surgery, they could be related to your hip replacement:
- Pulmonary embolism;
- Blood Clots;
- Nerve damage;
- Dislocation; and
- Metal poisoning.
Because the majority of hip replacements are metal on metal, there is a risk of pieces of metal coming loose and being absorbed by your body. Symptoms of metal toxicity are thyroid problems, kidney failure, popping or grinding sounds in the hip joint, and swollen hip joint.
What You Need For a Long Term Disability Case
If you still need a walker or cane after one year, you should consult your doctor to find out why you are not healing. You should also consider filing for long term disability. The documents that you will need to help prove your long term disability case are:
- Your diagnosis and medical notes from your orthopedic surgeon;
- X-rays, CT scans, and MRI’s of your hip before and after surgery;
- Blood test results if you do have metal toxicity complications; and
- Physical examination notes from your doctors, including your primary physician up to your surgeon that notes how this problem has affected your daily life.
It is important to know the most common reasons LTD claims are denied:
Incomplete Medical Information
One of the most common reasons claims are denied is due to missing or incomplete medical information. Forgetting to list a doctor’s office address or listing an incorrect address means the insurance could not verify your medical information. Forgetting to list all of your doctors and medications can also result in denial.
When you are sick and not working, it can become challenging to make doctor’s appointments; especially if you are required to make a co-pay each visit. However, the insurance company will say that you do not need medical attention if you are missing appointments. It’s essential to make all doctor appointments as scheduled.
It is very common for doctors only to write down the clinical symptoms and not make notes regarding pain, depression, low energy level, etc. Be sure that your doctor writes these down in your file as proof that you are suffering from these symptoms as well.
While most hip replacements are successful, there still is a risk of complications that could leave you with a lifetime of problems. If you have experienced any of the complications we’ve listed, you may be entitled to long term disability.
Using an experienced disability attorney will help you protect yourself against the insurance company. The Ortiz Law Firm is based in Florida but is a national long term disability firm, representing disability insurance claimants across the country. Receive a free consultation by calling (888) 321-8131. There is no obligation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine whether you qualify for long term disability benefits and can help you navigate the appeals process if your LTD claim has been wrongfully denied or terminated.