Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Disability Claims

By Roger Foisy on June 10th, 2010

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be devastating disabilities to experience.

Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disease resulting in a number of symptoms, including pain tender/trigger points, difficulty with sleeping, concentration and a host of other symptoms. Fibromyalgia can affect both adult women and men. 

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by a prolonged, debilitating lack of energy that leaves some individuals the inability to leave their own bed.  Both conditions can be long-lasting, chronic, and severely disabling medical conditions.    

Fibromyalgia disability claims and Chronic Pain disability claims have been difficult claims for those insured persons who have unfortunately been diagnosed with such disabilities.  Insurance companies have been known to refuse such disability claims despite insureds experiencing severe pain and fatigue associated with such disabilities. 

Fortunately, courts in Canada have disagreed with insurance companies by recognizing that it is certainly possible that individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome are totally disabled from working in theirs or sometimes any occupation.

The Supreme Court of Canada in two seminal cases, Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Martin and Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Laseur, [2003] 2 S.C.R. 504, 2003 SCC 54, held that:

“Chronic pain syndrome and related medical conditions have emerged in recent years as one of the most difficult problems facing workers’ compensation schemes in Canada and around the world.  There is no authoritative definition of chronic pain.  It is, however, generally considered to be pain that persists beyond the normal healing time for the underlying injury or is disproportionate to such injury, and whose existence is not supported by objective findings at the site of the injury under current medical techniques.  Despite this lack of objective findings, there is no doubt that chronic pain patients are suffering and in distress, and that the disability they experience is real.  While there is at this time no clear explanation for chronic pain, recent work on the nervous system suggests that it may result from pathological changes in the nervous mechanisms that result in pain continuing and non-painful stimuli being perceived as painful.  These changes, it is believed, may be precipitated by peripheral events, such as an accident, but may persist well beyond the normal recovery time for the precipitating event. “

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