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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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Workers Compensation Spondylosis

Spondylosis can be covered by workers compensation as its a general term meaning degeneration of the spinal column from any cause. In the more narrow sense it refers to spinal osteoarthritis, the age-related wear and tear of the spinal column, which is the most common cause of spondylosis. The degeneration called spondylosis can be in part from job duties over time.

Lumbar spondylolysis is a specific condition or defect or stress fracture in the pars interarticularis of the vertebral arch. Spondylolysis happens when a crack forms in the bony ring on the back of the spinal column. Most commonly, this occurs in the low back. In this condition, the bone that protects the spinal cord fractures as a result of excessive or repeated strain. The area affected is called the pars interarticularis, so doctors sometimes refer to this condition as a pars defect. Spondylolysis should not be confused with spondylosis, the degenerative condition. This condition appears in six percent of children. It mainly affects young athletes who participate in sports in which the spine is repeatedly bent backwards, such as gymnastics, football, and karate.

Another similar sounding spinal condition is spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis is the forward displacement of one vertebra, especially the fifth lumbar vertebra, over the one below it. Two types of spondylolisthesis can be covered by workers compensation if your doctor states its work-related. Degenerative spondylolisthesis is a disease that develops as a result of facet arthritis. Joint arthritis, and ligamentum flavum weakness, may result in slippage of a vertebra; also traumatic spondylolisthesis resulting from acute fractures in the neural arch can result in the vertebrae moving forward.

Spondylosis and spondylolisthesis are not directly related to a bulging or herniated disc, although those two conditions are not inconsistent with the others.  In other words, the degeneration may go together and due in part to job duties over time.

The workers comp insurance company doctors, called independent medical examiners or IME doctors, often claim the injured worker has degenerative spondylosis unrelated to his or her job duties over time. This may be plausible in a young worker, but in an older worker who has done physically demanding job duties over a number of years, the claim does not carry water. 

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys have obtained successful results in spondylosis and spondylolisthesis cases where the treating physicians support either a traumatic work-related injury or that the condition is work-related from job duties over time. In addition, the job duties or traumatic incident must be consistent with the mechanism of injury and diagnosis. Finally, to qualify for vocational retraining or loss of earning capacity benefits, there must be work-related permanent restrictions preventing a return to work.

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829 North Marshall Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

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