Berkshire approves total disability benefits for litigation attorney following surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and multi-level fusion of cervical spine

Our client was a litigator with his own successful practice. Early in 2009 he began to experience increasing pain in his upper back and neck. Thinking it was just a result of stress, he continued to try to work through the pain. As the pain worsened he sought medical treatment and later learned he had a life-threatening Chordoma in his cervical spine.

The slow growing, highly dangerous Chordoma had to be removed, and in doing so would result in the fusion of multiple discs in his cervical spine and radiation treatment. In June of 2009 he underwent his surgery. The surgery left him in great pain, with very limited range of motion, restrictions that would affect his normal daily activities, and a torn rotator cuff. Unable to return to the court room or handle the large caseload he once did with ease, he looked to his long term disability policies to help replace some of his lost income.

After dealing with insurance companies in the course of his legal career, he knew he did not want to undertake the filing of his application alone. He contacted attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup to assist in the filing of his application. As his practice was still running, albeit in a reduced capacity, attorneys Dell and Jessup knew from their experience in handling applications for long term disability that Berkshire would attempt to review his claim as a partial disability claim rather than a total disability claim.

In order to determine if our client could continue to work and receive total disability benefits, we conducted an occupational assessment of the manner in which are client worked pre-disability. Upon receipt and review of the information, attorneys Dell and Jessup submitted the application for long term disability benefits as a claim for total disability. Berkshire immediately set out to determine the claim to be one for partial disability. Expecting this, attorneys Dell and Jessup were prepared to fight for our client’s entitlement to total disability benefits.

Following a field interview and several phone conferences, Berkshire agreed that our client was eligible for total disability benefits.

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