young woman with traumatic brain injury

Case Spotlight – February 2024

Empowering Recovery: A Tale of Triumph in Disability Advocacy

Disability Law Group recently received a decision approving our client’s case for Social Security Disability (‘SSD’) benefits. She is a young woman from Roseville, Michigan, who was involved in a terrible work accident in 2015. For nearly ten years, she struggled with the aftermath of her traumatic brain injury she sustained at work, and was getting no help or benefits from Workers’ Compensation nor Social Security Disability despite trying to apply on her own. Her symptoms included severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance issues, neck pain, eye strain, difficulty with word-finding and concentration, memory loss, anxiety, and more.

Traumatic head and brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and typically involve many different tests and the collaboration of various specialists. As a result, insurance is critical to help cover testing and treatment, as well as financial and family support to help in the process. She underwent countless neurocognitive, neuro-visual, and other forms of testing to help properly diagnose her conditions stemming from her traumatic brain injury. Despite her serious symptoms lasting for many years, without much relief, she continued to receive a denial for any benefits and financial support, and began to feel helpless and hopeless.

In 2022, she was told by her mental health therapist that she should contact Disability Law Group for help with Social Security Disability benefits. Upon contacting our office, she was met with empathy and support. We got to work right away, helping with all documents, obtaining all medical records, preparing and filing the appeal, and guiding her at each step of the way. Attorney Erika Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, represented this client and prepared her for her disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (‘ALJ’) in November of 2023.

Prior to the hearing, Ms. Riggs prepared a legal brief, outlining her theory for this case, and how the combination of her client’s health problems since her traumatic brain injury in 2015 would preclude her ability to perform not only her past work, but any other work that exists in the national economy. She carefully summarized the key components of her case, including how her chronic and severe pain, mental and cognitive decline, issues with balance and memory, among others, would preclude her ability to be present at work and maintain the level of concentration and focus required of even unskilled work on a sustained basis since 2015 and through the present. The ALJ agreed and, one month later, we received a decision that read: Fully Favorable!contac

The decision found our client to have been disabled as of November 2015, the date of her traumatic brain injury, and before her work credits expired in 2020, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in back-pay benefits and immediate entitlement to Medicare. This decision was a major victory for this client in many ways, including the insurance she would now be entitled to that provided greater coverage for her treatment to help her on her road to recovery. Not only does she have peace of mind in knowing that she is now financially able to obtain the care she needs and deserves, but she described feeling finally heard as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Whether you’re dealing with a physical, mental, or cognitive health condition, or a combination thereof, you do not have to go through the process alone. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do, and we will fight alongside you to help win every benefit deserved. Our Disability Attorneys are not only experts in the field of disability law, but we care about each and every client, and putting them in the best position to be awarded benefits. At Disability Law Group, every client matters.

Author: Erika A. Riggs

Attorney Erika A. Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, is a renowned legal advocate and community leader. A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, Erika co-founded The 313 Project, a non-profit providing scholarships and pro-bono legal advice for at-risk youth. She actively contributes to community well-being as a board member and community activist, spearheading pro bono events and volunteer initiatives. Erika specializes in Social Security Disability and Veterans’ disability benefits. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Erika has received accolades such as the ‘Oakland Together 40 Under 40’ Class of 2023, 2022 ABA On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyer award, eight consecutive Avvo’s Client Choice awards, and the esteemed 2023 Rising Star award for the sixth consecutive year by Super Lawyers (extended to less than 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Michigan). Her multifaceted achievements showcase her commitment to excellence, community service, and advocacy for those in need.