Hartford ERISA Disability Appeal Victory for a Jet Operator Suffering with Chronic Back Pain
Following an attempt to return to work, Hartford terminated our client’s claim for long term disability benefits. Like so many people who file for disability benefits, he never imagined a day would come that he would not be able to work. Prior to filing for disability benefits, our client worked as a Jet Operator at a major east coast airport. His job entailed that he perform maintenance and repair work around the terminal, oversee fuel operating and dispensing system and be able to “perform heavy physical labor in a safe manner” while having to work outdoors in the extremes of summer heat or winter snow. However, chronic back pain with resultant radiculopathy made it increasingly difficult to continue to perform the duties of his job. In turn, he filed for disability under his employer’s ERISA group disability policy with Hartford.
The Desire To Work
Hartford initially approved his claim for disability payments. While he was on disability he attended numerous medical appointments and physical therapy sessions in an attempt to restore his physical health. The records from these visits clearly indicated his desire to return to work. However, in order to be able to return to work he would need clearance from his employer’s medical doctor. Compounding the matter further was the fact that before he could even meet with his company’s doctor he had to be cleared for work by his treating physician. Despite ongoing physical restrictions he was able to convince his treatment provider to clear him for work so he could at least be examined by the company doctor. This desire to return to work in spite of serious physical limitations would prove costly.
The Denial By Hartford
Our client was ultimately examined by his company’s doctor, who indicated that under no circumstances would he be able to return to his former occupation as a Jet Operator due to his extensive physical restrictions and limitations. Needless to say, our client’s hopes were crushed and he resigned himself to the fact he would be on disability. However, Hartford had other plans. Upon receipt of medical records from his treatment provider, specifically the work clearance, Hartford terminated his claim for benefits, making the simple assertion that his doctor had cleared him to return work.
The Appeal Of Hartford’s Disability Denial
Our client contacted Attorneys Dell Disability Lawyers following the denial and spoke with Attorney Stephen Jessup. Following a review of the denial letter, it became apparent to Attorney Jessup that Hartford was employing the most liberal of cherry pickings of our client’s medical records to deny the claim. During the course of preparing the appeal, Attorney Jessup acquired copies of all of our client’s medical records as well as a copy of Hartford’s claim file in an attempt to confirm his suspicions as to the denial. Review of the information clearly indicated that Hartford willfully failed to review the report of our client’s company doctor, and ignored the medical records preceding and following the “return to work clearance,” which included repeated indications from his doctors that he was unable to work. Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, Hartford only saw the clearance.
Attorney Jessup consulted with our client’s treatment providers and sought additional clarification as to the reason behind the return to work clearance. In doing so he confirmed that the clearance was meant to serve as nothing more than a way for our client to be examined by his company’s doctor, and in no way was a carte blanche return to work clearance. To further strengthen the claim our client was sent for additional testing that would document his physical restrictions and limitations. Armed with the information compiled during the course of the appeal, Attorney Jessup submitted an extensive appeal to Hartford. Unable to blindly ignore the evidence before them, Hartford overturned its termination of our client’s benefits, put him back on claim and forwarded all back benefits.
The Importance Of What One Medical Record May Say
Although the situation resulting in the denial of benefits may be a little different in this case, it still serves as a reminder of the importance of what one’s medical records say. When reviewing claims for disability benefits it is quite common that insurance companies will focus in on minute portions of medical records as an impetus to deny benefits. Many times indications of a patient “feeling better, sleeping better” or having a “normal physical exam” are enough to prompt a review of a claim for benefits. As such, it is always important to make sure your doctor is properly documenting your records, especially as they relate to restrictions and limitations preventing you from working.
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Reviews from Our Clients
Very satisfied with the work of this team. Took well care of my case and took all the necessary time to be responsive and attentive when I had questions. Guided me through recovery and returning to normalcy. All thanks to Jason & Tabitha, thank you!
I’m extremely satisfied with the experience I have had with this firm from day one. The lawyer who has handled my case, Alex, is very efficient and attentive to all my questions and concerns. They are always aware of how my case has gone and they care about my health. I feel optimistic with them because they are very attentive during the process of my claim. I would not hesitate to recommend families and friends if in any situation they need their services. Kathleen as well has been very well and assisted me with this case. I highly appreciate everything they have done for me.
It’s unfortunate when disability insurance companies come after older disabled policyholders just to help their bottom line. It can be a living nightmare the damage they can do to a family. Dell Disability Lawyers are polite, understanding and knowledgeable. They call you back and answer any question you have no matter how unimportant it can be. The amount of stress they took off of myself and family was incalculable. I recommend them highly to take care of any disability case whether it be filing for benefits or reversing a claim decision. They are outstanding.
I could not have been happier or more appreciative of the hard work they performed on my behalf. I was well briefed on my case and it was closed in a timely manner with a financially successful resolution.
Mr. Symonds and Sonia as well as everyone else we have worked with throughout this process have been very helpful, professional and caring to our situation. We are very thankful to have this great team on our side.
Without them my LTD company was dropping my plan with me still suffering from my accident, even with doctor’s statements I’m still disabled. The LTD company didn’t want to advance my policy to the next stage of years of pay. Dell Disability Lawyers saved my policy, and helped to enforce the LTD company’s own policy (for its policy holder, me) that I would be covered still under the LTD policy I had paid for at my previous job, when my accident occurred. These lawyers know what they are doing and can help you too. LTD companies will try to drop you when you still need coverage just because they don’t want to pay on your policy anymore. Don’t let them break contract with ya because they are trying to get out of it. Hit em with legal action to ensure the continuation of your policy you paid for. Dell Disability worked very well for me and continue to do so.
I was denied long term disability benefits from The Hartford after being on it for years. I found Dell Disability Lawyers after doing research online. In a matter of days they responded and explained to me everything that would be done. Dell Disability Lawyers were able to settle my suit against The Hartford very quickly and responded to me quickly. I would definitely recommend this team of lawyers for anyone that is fighting for their disability insurance.
I have had nothing but a great experience with Dell Disability Law Firm. Mr. Alex Palamara and his team went above and beyond my expectations. They will respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner. Thank you once again for taking my case.
This law firm is the best so far. MetLife denied me two times, they appealed two times for me and they won of course. So if you are on disability and want a chance at winning your case use this firm Dell disability lawyers, kind courteous understanding and they get the job done. You won’t be disappointed.