California Court denies Plaintiff’s Attempt to Introduce New Medical Information During ERISA Disability Lawsuit Against Hartford for Long Term Disability Benefits

One of the largest obstacles facing an insured in bringing a lawsuit against a disability insurance company for benefits under an ERISA governed group disability policy is the inability to add additional information, in most cases medical information, to the administrative record after a final denial has been entered by the insurance company.

This general rule was reaffirmed in a recent ERISA disability lawsuit against Hartford Financial Insurance Company in California. The insured attempted to introduce an updated medical record that had not been provided during the administrative appeal process. The insured argued that since the Court was reviewing Hartford’s termination of benefits under what is known as a “de novo” standard of review, the Court is allowed to consider this new evidence to determine whether Hartford correctly denied the claim.

The Court disagreed stating that the report was of limited relevance to its determination as the new medical information was dated two years after the claim had been denied and did not provide relevant information as to the correctness of Hartford’s initial denial. As such the report was not to be admitted into the record or considered by the Court in making its decision.

ERISA Laws Are Very Strict And You Must Understand The Rules To Win Disability Benefits

Litigation under ERISA governed policies is limited to what is contained in the administrative record at the time of the final denial. Only under very limited and strict circumstances can additional information be admitted for consideration by the Court.

This is why it is imperative that an insured submit as thorough and complete an Appeal as possible, containing as much supportive medical and nonmedical evidence of disability as possible.

An insured whose claim has been denied should view any Appeal being filed as forming the basis of what can be argued at trial. If relevant information that could support your inability to work is not included in the appeal and not submitted before a final denial of benefits you can be precluded from ever having a Court consider it.

If your disability insurance claim has been denied please feel free to contact Attorneys Dell & Schaefer at 1-800-828-7583 to discuss your options and how we may be able to assist you.

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Do you help Hartford claimants nationwide?

We represent Hartford clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Hartford disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Hartford. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Hartford.

How do you help Hartford claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Hartford long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Hartford:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

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.

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