After appeal filed by Attorney Jay Symonds, Hartford overturned its previous denial of long term disability benefits for Tennessee Claims Supervisor

Our client, Ms. G, formerly worked as a Claims Supervisor for a large national insurance carrier. In November 2012 a number of medical issues, including Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis forced Ms. G to stop working and submit her claim for disability benefits first under her employer’s short-term disability (STD) policy and then continuing under its long-term disability (LTD) policy. Both benefits were administered by Hartford. Under her employer’s disability policies Ms. G would be considered totally disabled after 24-months if she was unable to perform the essential duties of any gainful occupation, which was defined as any occupation she was qualified to perform by education, training and experience.

After paying Ms. G for more than two years under the LTD Policy, Hartford denied further LTD benefits on the basis that she allegedly no longer met the policy definition of disability. Specifically, Hartford stated that, based on video surveillance and a 3rd party medical records review, Ms. G was “capable of working full time sedentary level work.” After receiving the denial, Ms. G contacted Dell & Schaefer and discussed her case with Attorney Jay Symonds. Attorney Symonds identified several significant issues in Hartford’s denial letter and in the evidence it relied on and agreed to prepare and submit Ms. G’s ERISA appeal with the assistance of his appeal team.

The LTD appeal addressed all of Hartford’s short-comings and reasons for denial, with a special focus on the medical records on and around the date of Hartford’s denial and significant inconsistencies with its medical reviewer’s findings. The appeal next addressed Hartford’s reliance on the video surveillance. Noting that there are extreme cases where surveillance activity is so inconsistent with a claimant’s reported limitations that a simple viewing of the surveillance may constitute sufficient evidence, Attorney Symonds established that Ms. G’s observed activities were not conclusively outside the range of activities of someone incapable of sedentary work. Further, the activities recorded were not inconsistent with Ms. G’s reported limitations as noted in her statements to Hartford and the reports from her treating physician. And finally, during an interview with Hartford’s Field Investigator, Ms. G, with no knowledge of the surveillance, informed the investigator that she had performed the activities observed on surveillance. In response the investigator did not ask a single question about the event; how it impacted her physically or cognitively; how she felt during and after the event; or how she felt the next day or week. Therefore, Hartford’s failure to any questions did not evidence a full and fair review.

Approximately six weeks later, and after reviewing the appeal and hundreds of pages of exhibits and medical records, Hartford overturned its decision to terminate benefits, reinstated Ms. G’s LTD benefits and paid full back benefits to date. Attorney Symonds continues to represent our client to best ensure that Hartford will not terminate her benefits again. Feel free to call our disability attorneys for a free consultation on this or any matter relevant to your disability claim.

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FAQ

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

Reviews

Bruce R. (Arizona)

Steve Dell has done an exceptional job with my disability application process. The firm is extremely well managed. They have acquired an incredible amount of experience over many years. I recommend them for disability insurance claims without reservation. 

Don (Florida)

I called this firm a few months ago completely disparaged due to a company cutting off disability benefits at a time that nearly caused me to lose everything.

Attorney Alex Palmera and Danielle worked hard to reach an amicable settlement and my case was settled a few months later. This is a good firm and the specific expertise in disability claims saved me countless hours of hassle at a time when an already fragile state existed.

Thank you Mr. Palamara and Danielle.

Sandra B. (Arkansas)

I have nothing but good things to say about how my buyout was handled with my disability claim. The level of professionalism was amazing. All of my questions and concerns were answered either by Danielle L. or Alex P. in such a timely manner and with such care I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to approach their provider with buyout options.

They did a fantastic job communicating between the provider and me, always keeping my best interest at heart and always answering my many many questions. They really did take most of the stress out of this whole situation. I would give them a 10 out of 10 for every step of this crazy journey. Thank you so much for helping me through this.

Brenda R. (New York)

I needed assistance with an appeal for a LTD claim that was initially denied. Stephen understood what needed to happen to win the appeal and he did win the appeal for me.

Michael C. (Virginia)

Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

Jeff P. (Oklahoma)

After a very long and frustrating ordeal to keep my LTD payments coming I decided to seek assistance from and attorney. After much research and asking those in the legal profession Dell & Schaefer seemed to be the top choice. I reached out and Alex Palamara was the attorney assigned to my case. All I can say is the experience was outstanding. Both Alex and his Paralegal, Danielle Lauria were excellent to work with. They were very kind, concerned, understanding of my frustrations and treated me with the utmost respect. Communication was excellent with regular updates and telling me what I could expect in each stage of the process.

Alex was also very straight forward with what to expect and no pie in the sky promises or expectations were made. In the end we won our case and I believe it was solely due to their experience and knowledge of not only the laws but the insurance companies as a whole. I would highly recommend them and am very grateful for the help they afforded to me.

Chad B. (Illinois)

I originally spoke with 3 other long term disability lawyers about my case before contacting Dell and Schaefer. None of those law firms would take it. They said the chances of me winning was not good. After finding Dell and Schaefer online I spoke with one of the attorneys that has since left. He did take my case but later it was picked up by Rachel Alters. Rachel is amazing and a very intelligent attorney. She not only won my case but also was able to get my back pay for 6 months.

I also cannot say enough about Sonia Nogueira. Sonia was always quick to answer any of my questions. I would usually hear back from her within hours of sending her a email. I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t contacted them. My family and I cannot thank them enough. Don’t let an insurance company tell you they are not responsible for paying you. I paid them for 20 years monthly and they looked for any reason they could not to have to pay me when I needed my benefit. Thank you Rachel and Sonia for all you guys do.

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