Our client was a former United States postal worker who became disabled due to a back injury he sustained in an automobile accident in 2003. Several years before the accident, he purchased a disability insurance policy offered by his credit card company, which provided a lump sum payment in the amount of one million dollars if he became permanently disabled. The disability insurance policy was administered and funded by Federal Insurance Company. Following the accident he was in and out of work for approximately ten months. Upon returning to work he aggravated his back, and was forced to miss additional work. Despite his best attempts to return to work he was ultimately forced to cease working in October of 2004. At that time he filed for Social Security disability benefits, which were ultimately awarded in June of 2005.
In October 2005, following the award of Social Security benefits he contacted his insurance company to request an application for disability benefits. He ultimately submitted the forms in early 2007. For the next two years the insurance company sent multiple requests for information, and eventually denied the claim in early 2009 claiming that our client was not permanently disabled. In mid 2009, he contacted Dell and Schaefer to bring suit on his behalf.
Review of the Policy’s Notice of Claim and Proof of Loss provisions raised concern as to whether the late notice would jeopardize his claim. Additionally, the language in the Policy was ambiguous as to our client’s entitlement to benefits. Ambiguity in an insurance policy is generally interpreted in a light most favorable to the insured. Attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup gathered our client’s medical, employment, Social Security, and VA records, and after lengthy research and analysis filed lawsuit in federal court in November 2009. For the following three months attorneys Dell and Jessup filed and responded to motions to prevent the case from potentially being dismissed. Prior to trial the case went to mediation where a confidential settlement was reached.