• Companion Life Insurance Company Uses Video Surveillance to Deny Disability Benefits

Federal Judge Makes Companion Life Insurance Pay Long Term Disability Benefits

Companion Life tried to play games and deny long term disability benefits, but thankfully a New Mexico Federal Judge made them pay disability benefits and attorney fees. The Plaintiff, Mr. Paul Chandhok, was recently awarded disability benefits in a decision by The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, in a case decided on August 13, 2021. What makes this decision important for plaintiff’s contesting their claim for long term disability benefits is that the Court also demanded that Companion Life Insurance Company pay the claimant’s attorney fees. The Court reversed the benefit denial and determined that Companion’s long term disability decision was arbitrary and capricious and not supported by the available evidence. The full written decision by the Court is included below: 

https://casetext.com/case/chandhok-v-companion-life-ins-co

As a brief summary of the disability claim, Chandhok worked as an Assistant Sales Manager for a car dealership and became insured under the group long term disability policy effective June 1, 2015. He injured himself on January 9, 2016, while stepping in a pothole, causing pain to both his knee and foot. The medical information also supported associated psychological symptoms. After the injury, he struggled to perform the duties of his occupation, which required, amongst other duties, frequent standing and walking and interacting frequently with customers. All of these duties were hampered by his physical and psychological limitations. Ultimately, Mr. Chandhook could no longer perform his occupation and filed for a long term disability claim effective March 5, 2016.

The Companion Insurance Company took a number of unfair and ridiculous steps, to deny Mr. Chandhok’s claim. One, Companion decided that because he continued to work after the injury of January 9, 2016 that his injury and psychological symptoms did not support disability benefits after he stopped working as of March 5, 2016. This argument by Companion Insurance was made despite Chandhok’s supervisor suggesting a disability claim was a necessary measure given the supervisor’s observations of Mr. Chandhok’s difficulties working on a daily basis.

Why Did Court Reverse Companion’s Disability Denial?

The Court found that the decision of Companion Life to deny disability benefits was unreasonable (arbitrary and capricious) for the following reasons:

One: Companion Life argued that Mr. Chandhok was not diablsed before his diagnosis. Whether diagnosed with a condition or not, the issue at hand is whether he was Disabled from performing or sustaining full-time work as of March 5, 2016.

Two: Companion Life argued that Mr. Chandhok did not remain insured after his last day of work on March 4th, 2016. This conclusion is simply not supported by the policy or the available evidence because he was disabled and therefore still insured.

Three: Companion also argued that Mr. Chandhok was indeed Disabled, but only through July 5, 2016, which does not support the argument that he was also not insured, as noted above.

Four: Companion Life argued that Mr. Chandhok did not have a mental illness impacting his ability to work despite numerous medical records and statements from his doctors confirming mental health problems.

As a result of the numerous problems with the decision to deny Chandhok’s claim, the Court remanded the claim back to Companion Life to perform a refreshed and unbiased review. However, Companion Life failed to follow through on any meaningful basis. As noted by the Court, Companion Life merely “repackaged a flawed argument and applied it to a new disability date to avoid reconsideration of its original denial. Once the claim came back to the court the Judge did. It give Companion another opportunity to review the claim and awarded past due benefits and attorney fees. Companion argued  against the award of attorney fees but the court ruled the the claimant had achieved some success of the merits and fees shall be paid.

This is a great victory for the claimant. Our law firm did not represent the plaintiff in this claim but we track and report on every important long term disability decision so that we can help claimants nationwide to collect long term disability benefits. Contact any of our disability attorneys for a free consultation and review of your long term disability claim.

Leave a comment or ask us a question

Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Companion Life claimants nationwide?

We represent Companion Life 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 Companion Life disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Companion Life. 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 Companion Life.

How do you help Companion Life claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Companion Life 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 Companion Life:

  • 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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Ray B. (Florida)

I always have doubts about lawyers, but Stephen Jessup from Dell & Schaefer, a confident lawyer, convinced me that he would work my case and that he has done. Make no mistake I was skeptical at first as I’ve been burned before with other lawyers, but his commitment to getting was best for his client is his priority.

His staff Michal Mizrahi provided excellent communication and kept me abreast of my case. I put my trust in him to make the best decision for me and I’ve told him that. This is the level of confidence I have in him.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

Speak With An Attorney Now

Request a free legal consultation: Call 800-682-8331 or Email Us