We monitor the actions of every disability insurance company nationwide. We constantly report on the latest disability insurance lawsuits, claim handling trends and answer frequently asked questions in order to help disability insurance claimants secure their benefits. Feel free to either leave a comment on any of our articles or privately contact us should you have any questions.
March 29, 2018 —
Over the past few months we have been seeing an increase in denial letters from various insurance companies that contain information not previously seen. This information includes a notice of claimant rights written in multiple languages, and in the case of final denials of benefits the notification to claimants of the exact date the Statute of Limitations to bring a lawsuit under ERISA to seek one’s benefits will expire. The inclusion of...
March 28, 2018 —
In this video, disability insurance attorneys Rachel Alters and Gregory Dell discuss a California Federal Court decision in which a Sunlife disability insurance denial was reversed. Rachel Alters discusses the court’s frustration with Sunlife and finding that Sunlife abused their discretion by denying long term disability benefits after paying for multiple years.
Contact any of our disability insurance attorneys for a free initial phone...
March 19, 2018 —
Neck pain is unfortunately a very common occurrence for people at some point in their life. When neck pain becomes chronic it makes it extremely difficult for a person to commit to a regular work schedule. In this video, nationwide disability insurance attorneys Cesar Gavidia and Gregory Dell discuss their experience in helping long term disability insurance claimants disabled by a neck disorder.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss your...
March 13, 2018 —
In October 2017 Hartford Insurance company agreed to purchase the disability and life insurance division of Aetna insurance company for 1.45 billion dollars.
In this video nationwide long term disability insurance attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discuss what impact they believe this sale will have on Aetna long term disability policy holders.
Contact any of our disability insurance attorneys for a free initial phone...
March 2, 2018 —
In this video disability insurance attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discuss the multiple issues associated with long term disability insurance claims for people suffering with a back related medical issue. A disability claim related to a back condition is one of the top five causes of disability. Back disability claims are highly scrutinized by disability insurance companies.
Our disability insurance attorneys have helped thousands...
February 14, 2018 —
Cal Van Steen had been employed as a Systems Integration Business Analyst at Lockheed Martin Corporation and participated in the company’s group long-term disability plan with Life Insurance Company of North America a/k/a CIGNA.
In 2011 while walking his dog he was assaulted during an altercation which resulted in a traumatic brain injury that affected Mr. Van Steen’s cognitive abilities, namely his abilities to concentrate, focus...
February 7, 2018 —
A common question we receive from claimants is how one can be approved for social security disability benefits but denied private disability insurance benefits. A recent case decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals touched on this issue and reminds us that different disability programs have different standards of determining disability and it is possible to be approved under one standard of disability and denied under another.
January 23, 2018 —
Substance abuse disorder is a major problem throughout our country and it is a disease that can happen to anyone. Unfortunately doctors working in high stress environments have a high incidence of either alcohol or pain medicine addiction. The claims for doctors are difficult as a substance abuse disorder often results in an event in the workplace and then the doctor has medical licensing issues with the state medical board. The claimant will...
January 19, 2018 —
On January 19, 2018, Lincoln Financial Group announced that they are buying Liberty Life / Liberty Mutual’s Group Benefits business for $3.3 billion. Lincoln claims that the combined company would be the number one seller of Disability sales with a 14 percent market share. As disability insurance attorneys that have handled hundreds of claims with both Liberty and Lincoln we think that this merger is a good thing for disability claimants and...
January 17, 2018 —
When most people think of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) the first thing that comes to mind is severe pain and swelling of the joints. More often than not, when a claim is made for disability insurance benefits due to RA, it is based on these complaints of pain. However, as noted in an Arthritis Today article titled “Brain Fog” there does exist a growing body of evidence to support cognitive limitations stemming from RA. Much like the better...
January 10, 2018 —
The case of Greggory B. Owens v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Company demonstrates what a difference a day makes. All parties agreed that claimant Owens was entitled to long term disability benefits. The sole question in controversy was the date upon which he became disabled.
On July 1, 2013, Owens suffered a debilitating back injury while moving furniture at work. At the time, his annual salary was $83,150.00. Later that same day, the...
January 4, 2018 —
Before degenerative joint disease of the lumbar spine forced Christopher Patterson to leave his career, Mr. Patterson worked as a Systems Analyst for a consulting firm. Mr. Patterson’s employer provided long-term disability insurance through a plan administered by Aetna Life Insurance Company.
In 2001, Mr. Patterson’s back pain forced him to have lumbar surgery, after which he returned to work full-time and without restrictions. In 2006...
December 27, 2017 —
This case is just another example of a Unum claim rep reviewing restriction and limitations provided by their own in-house doctors, with complete disregard for the opinions of a claimant's treating doctor. An Oklahoma Judge opined that Unum ignored the restrictions and limitations provided by the claimant's treating doctors. The claimant, a pharmacist was unable to work due to suffering a broken tail bone. Her pain was so
sever that she was...
December 22, 2017 —
Flaaen v. Principal Life Insurance Company, is a win for the claimant who suffered a severe back injury in August 2005 in his job as a truck driver. In January 2006, Principal granted his application for long term disability benefits since he could no longer perform the regular and substantial duties of his own occupation.
On December 14, 2014, Principal terminated Flaaen’s disability benefits on the grounds that he now had to meet the...
December 21, 2017 —
Kelly Dean Brende v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company stems from a September 11, 2012, incident where Brende, a partner in a law firm, woke up one morning to discover her toes were numb. By the following day, the numbness had spread to much of her left side and she felt dizzy.
She was evaluated in an emergency room, and over the next weeks and months, sought help from numerous medical practitioners. Despite numerous tests, no cause...
December 18, 2017 —
In Johnson v. Life Insurance Company of America, a Colorado District Court ruled in favor of the claimant finding LINA’s decision unsupported by any reasonable basis. The case dealt with a denial of long term disability benefits at the change in definition from own occupation to any occupation. After paying 24 months of benefits to Ms. Johnson, LINA concluded that Ms. Johnson did not qualify for any occupation benefits and ceased...
December 13, 2017 —
Hartford Disability Company, and other disability insurers, use video surveillance and field interviews as a technique to deny claims. A recent federal court case found that Hartford correctly terminated long term disability benefits for a claimant who was caught on video surveillance engaging in activities which she had claimed she could not do.
In this case, after Hartford conducted its surveillance, which was done surreptitiously as usual...
December 11, 2017 —
A long term disability insurance claimant had his benefits denied when a doctor made a mistake in completing an Attending Physician Statement. Following submission of an ERISA appeal Hartford ignored the additional information submitted and once again denied the claim following an Appeal. Following the submission of a Federal lawsuit, the Minnesota Federal Judge ruled that Hartford failed to conduct an appropriate review of the claim and...
December 4, 2017 —
This is an interesting long term disability benefit case that was litigated in the Washington Federal Court against Principal Life insurance. As we see with a lot of ERISA disability lawsuits, the insurance company denies a claimant’s long term disability claim when the definition of disability changes from OWN OCCUPATION to ANY OCCUPATION. In this case, Principal paid benefits during the Own Occupation phase (24 months) and then cut benefits...
November 29, 2017 —
Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are two of the most common causes of disability. In a recent case against Liberty Mutual, a pediatrician claimed he was unable to work due to anxiety and depression. Liberty Mutual evaluated the doctors claim by hiring a doctor to review the medical records submitted. Based exclusively on their own psychiatric medical review, Liberty Mutual determined that the pediatrician did not have any...
November 16, 2017 —
One of the most common causes for filing a short or long term disability insurance claim is due to “back pain.” Although this encompasses a wide range of conditions - from disc herniations and bulges to soft tissue disorders and fibromyalgia - insurance companies will evaluate entitlement to benefits as a result of back pain in the same manner regardless of the medical basis for the pain. Complicating the insurance company evaluation further...
November 13, 2017 —
This case was decided by a district court in Illinois and involved United of Omaha Life Insurance Company. An ERISA action was filed by the Plaintiff, Gina Tassone, after her LTD benefits were terminated. She had been paid two-years of regular-occupation benefits for her inability to work as a Finance Manager and like many group disability policies, her insurance policy’s definition of disability changed after two-years of benefits.
November 6, 2017 —
In Gray v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co. (United), after working for a southern California television station for 15 years and rising to the position of Vice President of Sales, plaintiff was injured in a car accident. He was completely bedridden for two months and was left with limited use of his limbs and suffered from chronic pain. He attempted to return to work, using a wheelchair part-time, but it was too much for him and he had to...
November 3, 2017 —
Following the submission of an ERISA disability appeal an insurance company is allotted 45 days under the law with which to render a decision on the appeal. ERISA also allows the insurance carrier a single 45 day extension to complete the review so long as the extension is for good cause. It is common for an insured to receive a letter from their disability carrier during the initial 45 day timeframe that the insurance company is exercising its...
October 31, 2017 —
In the case of Mokbel-Alijahmi v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's determination that United of Omaha improperly terminated the plaintiff's benefits after an unfair "any occupation" review. The Plaintiff in this case was a welder who spoke no English but was fluent in Arabic. His previous job required him to be able to lift 40 lbs.; however he did not need to speak English to perform his...
October 24, 2017 —
Neuropsychological testing is highly specialized testing performed by a neuropsychologist to identify and provide objective medical evidence of cognitive dysfunction. It is a highly valuable tool in establishing a claim for disability that involves various cognitive problems such as memory, thought processing and executive functioning. This becomes vitally important as most insurance companies will treat an insured’s complaints of memory...
October 12, 2017 —
From 2002 until 2010, Julia Sun worked as a Registered Nurse caring for quadriplegic patients. Her occupation could not be considered, as far as strength demand was concerned, anything less than a “medium” physical demand level occupation. The substantial and material duties of her occupation included caring, bathing, feeding, dressing and transferring patients. She administered their medications and assessed their condition and illnesses...
October 2, 2017 —
In Thomas A. Gonda, Jr., M.D. v Permanente Medical Group, Inc., et. al., plaintiff Thomas Gonda, a thoracic surgeon for The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., suffered double vision, headaches, memory loss, and difficulty focusing on and completing tasks following an accident in which he was hit by a car while riding a Segway. The accident also caused an exacerbation in Dr. Gonda’s long standing problems with alcohol abuse. Following completion...
September 20, 2017 —
In the case of Gallegos v. Prudential, a California Federal District in the Northern District of California entered an order instructing Prudential to reinstate the benefits to an insured suffering with Lupus. This ruling provides a plethora of useful information in arguing claims for disability stemming from Lupus, but also for any physical medical condition in which an insurance carrier argues a “lack of objective evidence” to support...
August 24, 2017 —
In Rouleau v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, plaintiff Michelle Rouleau, a Registered Nurse (RN) for a Hospital, had a history of intractable lower back pain dating back many years. As an employee of the Hospital, she was covered by a Group Long-Term Disability Insurance policy issued by Liberty Life (Liberty).
Under the terms of the LTD Policy, the definition of disability changed after benefits were paid...