Can I Lodge a TPD Claim for a Back Injury?

20 September 2023 | TPD Claims

You may be able to make a TPD claim for back injury if you suffer significant pain, immobility, and other issues that impact your employment. Many Australians are unaware of their entitlement to Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) coverage for a back injury.

If you have suffered a back injury that affects your ability to work, you should consult a specialist lawyer as soon as possible. Call TPD Compensation Lawyers at 03 9966 7188 to find out if you have a viable TPD claim for back injury. Your initial consultation is FREE.

Common Back Injuries

Back injuries can be debilitating. Injury to the back may involve the vertebrae, soft tissue (such as muscles, ligaments, and discs), and even the spinal cord.

Multiple back injuries can affect the ability to work and perform day-to-day activities. These include:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Herniated, slipped, or ruptured discs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Fractures of the vertebrae
  • Vertebral misalignment or slippage (spondylolisthesis)
  • Narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis)
  • Spinal cord injury

Some back injuries can be treated with rest and rehabilitation, while others require more extensive intervention. If you suffered a back injury or you experience frequent back pain, you should speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Is a Back Injury Considered a Disability?

The definition of Total and Permanent Disability is determined by the super insurer. Superannuation funds typically define ‘Total and Permanent Disability’ in one of the following terms:

  • ‘Any occupation’
    You are unable to perform any occupation for which you are qualified.
  • ‘Own occupation’
    The disability prevents you from engaging in your current occupational duties.
  • ‘Activities of daily living’
    You lack the ability to care for yourself as a result of disability.

If any of these terms apply to your situation, you may be entitled to a TPD benefit. Claims must be supported by strong medical evidence. You may need to consult a physiotherapist, an orthopaedic surgeon, and/or other qualified medical practitioners to ensure that the symptoms and prognosis of your back injury are fully documented.

Symptoms of Back Injuries That May Entitle You to TPD

Each superfund imposes a waiting period on Total and Permanent Disability claims (usually three to six months but check your insurance policy to be sure). During this time, your injury or illness must prevent you from working.

Many symptoms of a back injury can make it difficult or even impossible to work. These include:

  • Chronic or recurrent back pain
  • Loss of mobility
  • Inability to lift heavy objects
  • Difficulty sitting or standing for prolonged stretches of time
  • Numbness or weakness in the extremities
  • Trouble with concentration and memory
  • Psychological distress

In addition to seeking medical attention, you owe it to yourself to explore your right to compensation. People often don’t know that they have TPD cover (usually through insurance with their employer), let alone what they may be entitled to.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Back Injuries?

According to Healthdirect, 1 in 6 Australians will experience some form of back problem in the course of their lives. Some of these problems are serious enough to qualify for Total and Permanent Disability.

Back injuries have a number of potential causes, including:

  • Road accidents
  • Falls
  • Workplace injuries
  • Repetitive strain
  • Improper motions of the back (e.g., lifting with your back instead of your legs)
  • Physical trauma to the back or spine

Unlike other compensation schemes, you do not need to suffer injury due to a particular incident to qualify for TPD. You also do not need to prove fault for the injury—simply that the injury exists, and it makes it so you can’t work or care for yourself.

Read More: What Are the Most Common TPD Claims?

Is It Difficult to Claim TPD for a Back Injury?

Super insurers recognise how common back pain and injuries are. Unfortunately, this makes them more likely to scrutinise TPD claims for back injury.

Difficulties applicants may face when lodging a TPD claim for back injury include:

Inadequate Medical Evidence

TPD claims are often rejected because the insurer believes there is insufficient evidence of disability. When applying for TPD, it is important to include all medical records and reports illustrating your back injury, including symptoms, work restrictions, etc.

Failure to Satisfy the Waiting Period

Back pain and other issues can come and go. People may suffer for weeks or even months without being able to work, but the duration of incapacity may still not meet the waiting period for TPD.

Not Meeting the Definition of Total and Permanent Disability

Someone who becomes paralysed as a result of a back injury will likely suffer permanent and total impacts on their ability to work. If this is the case, the injured individual will likely qualify for a TPD payout. However, most TPD claims for back injuries do not entail such an extreme scenario. As such, it is not uncommon for claims to be rejected on the grounds that the applicant does not meet the definition for disability.

You may be able to apply for income protection or another type of insurance cover to help offset your medical bills and make up for lost income. However, Total and Permanent Disability payouts are only made when the insurer is satisfied that the applicant cannot work and is unlikely to return to work in the future.

Get Help with a TPD Claim for Back Injury

If you have sustained a back injury that seriously limits you from working or makes it so you can’t work at all, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer specialising in TPD claims as soon as possible. You may be entitled to a substantial benefit, but knowledgeable legal counsel is essential for maximising your entitlement.

TPD Compensation Lawyers serves clients throughout Australia. Contact us today for a FREE review of your claim.