Our client enjoyed a long and successful career as a partner in his personal injury law firm. As a young attorney, our client bought a private disability insurance contract that protected his income in the event of his total or partial disability. The contract defined total disability as the inability to perform the important duties of his occupation and partial disability as the inability to perform one or more of the duties of his occupation, while suffering aloss of at least 20%.
As a partner in the law firm, our client took initial calls, negotiated settlements with insurance adjusters, and marketed his practice with a monthly radio show. Unfortunately, at the age of 55 years old, our client developed severe depression. After taking some time off, our client returned to work at his law office in a limited capacity. He took initial calls and continued to conduct his monthly radio show. However, he no longer negotiated settlements with insurance companies.
His disability insurance carrier began paying partial disability insurance benefits. As his firm remained successful, there were many months in which our client did not receive his monthly benefit as he did not suffer a loss of at least 20%. Moreover, as his insurance carrier determined that he was partially rather than totally disabled, his carrier informed him that his benefits would cease upon turning 65 years of age, rather than providing lifetime benefits for a total disability.
After reviewing his policy we determined that under his definition of disability, he should have received total disability benefits from the beginning of his claim. We began pre-litigation negotiations and the client was paid $800,000 plus an additional two months of total disability insurance benefits. The claim was handled by Attorney Steven Dell.