Disabled attorney forced to sue UNUM for her disability benefits

A 53-year-old disabled attorney and her New York disability attorney filed a Federal lawsuit against the insurer UNUM on July 15, 2011 for collection of her disability benefits. A Toxic Tort Trial and Litigation Attorney and partner at a well-known firm, the claimant was forced to stop working due to her deteriorating medical condition in April 2009.

Diagnosed with Choruidal Osteoma, a benign boney tumor of the eye when she was 13, the claimant was diagnosed in 2006 with “Coroidal Neovascularization (‘CNV’),” which causes major visual loss. Experiencing frequent capillary hemorrhages in her eye, pain and worsening myopia, the claimant underwent “intravitreal Lucentis injections,” an injection method in which medication is injected directly into her eyeball for several weeks. Unfortunately, the procedure failed to improve her failing eyesight. Consequently on April 15, 2009, the claimant ceased working and applied for short-term disability benefits from UNUM.

The Claimant Qualifies for Short Term Disability Benefits under Her UNUM Policy

Qualifying for her short-term benefits, the claimant was awarded her short term disability benefits for a full 26 weeks. Being classified as totally disabled, the claimant applied for her long-term benefits per her firm’s group UNUM plan. Offering the claimant Vocational Rehabilitation Services, UNUM admitted that she “was incapable of performing her regular occupation.” And, according to her disability attorney, the offer of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in addition to the award of her short term disability benefits verified that the claimant was disabled per the terms of her UNUM disability plan. However, UNUM denied the claimant her long-term disability benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) in a letter dated December 14, 2009. Appealing the denial, the claimant submitted additional medical documentation of her condition in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution and to avoid litigation.

UNUM Denies Claimant’s Disability Claim Appeal

UNUM proceeded to uphold its denial of the claimant’s disability claim, chose not to have her examined by a physician of the insurer’s choice, and chose to rely on paper reviews by out-of-state doctors instead. Failing to pay the claimant’s disability benefits, UNUM has “not honored its contractual obligations” to the claimant which has lead to her and her disability lawyer filing this subject lawsuit to attempt to force the insurer to uphold its obligation to the claimant and approve her disability claim. In the claim against UNUM, the claimant and her lawyer asked the District Court to enter judgment against UNUM for:

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Do you help Unum claimants nationwide?

We represent Unum 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 Unum disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Unum claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Unum 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 Unum:

  • 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   *****

Patricia E.

After fighting with UNUM for over a year over whether I was disabled (I had been determined to be disabled by the Federal Government and had a letter stating such), I finally decided to hire an attorney. Being skeptical and wary of money grubbing lawyers, I researched various firms over 2 months, interviewing prospective attorneys over the phone. I selected Dell & Schaefer based on their website, case success statistics, and the speed at which they returned my calls and emails.

My experience in working with Rachel Alters and her assistant Michal Mizrahi is nothing short of outstanding. They responded quickly to phone calls and emails and were mindful of my concerns and information needs. Even when Ms. Alters was out of the office for personal reasons, she would make sure that my questions were answered thoroughly in a timely manner. I cannot say enough good things about Michal. She anticipated my needs and was proactive in keeping me informed as my case progressed.

In the end, Rachel and Michal were successful at reaching a good settlement for me with UNUM and I am very satisfied.

Resolving disputes with insurance companies is always stressful and unpleasant. I strongly suggest that if you find yourself in that place, that you seriously consider Dell and Schaefer, and if possible, Rachel Alters. She made what could have been a horrible situation not only bearable but brought to a successful conclusion in a timely manner. I am clear that I would never had had such a positive outcome without their help and expertise.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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