Hartford Settles Disability Claim of 60 Year-Old Account Executive After Terminating LTD Benefits

Our client worked as an Account Executive for many years until he suffered an accident that required him to undergo neck surgery. Harford approved his long-term disability benefits and paid him for over three years. His condition never improved, in fact it became worse after he suffered a stroke. After paying the claimant for several years, Hartford determined that he was capable of returning to work in a full-time capacity, completely disregarding his treating physician’s medical opinion that he was incapable of full-time or even part-time work.

Hartford Tricks Treating Physician Into Signing Document Stating His Patient Can Work

Disability insurance carriers are notorious for harassing claimants’ treating physicians with an overwhelming amount of paperwork hoping at some point the physicians will become fed up and stop supporting their patient’s disability. The insurance carrier will send countless letters to treating doctors asking them to fill out documentation stating their patient can return to work. Unfortunately, most physicians are extremely busy and do not have time to read through lengthy paperwork and will sign off on forms that may or may not contain the correct information.

Hartford was not satisfied with the claimant’s treating physician’s opinions which supported his inability to perform full-time sedentary work with any reasonable continuity. Therefore, Hartford sent his doctor a statement asking him to sign if he agreed that he could go back to work or provide a reason he could not work full-time sedentary work. In haste, his physician signed Hartford’s statement not realizing it did not coincide with his previous opinions. Of course Hartford was hoping this would occur and as a result, the Hartford terminated his disability claim. However, the claimant’s physician was always of the opinion that he was not capable of full-time sedentary work and would stand by his original medical opinions.

It came as a surprise to our client when he learned that the physician he had been treating with for years, who consistently supported his inability to work, and previously stated that his disability was permanent, signed a letter provided by Hartford stating that he was able to return to full-time sedentary work.

In her appeal, Attorney Rachel Alters provided an additional Attending Physician’s Statement clarifying the medical opinions of the claimant’s treating physician. The claimant’s physician did not remember signing the letter stating his patient could return to work and had always been of the opinion that he was incapable of performing the material and substantial duties of his occupation or any gainful occupation due to cervical disc disease, radiculopathy, rotator cuff injury, neck and shoulder pain, left sided weakness, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain. Attorney Alters also argued that Hartford acted unreasonably by failing to consider the Social Security decision as well as failing to retain a qualified physician to review our client’s claim.

Hartford Acted Unreasonably By Failing To Hire a Physician to Review His Claim

Hartford had a duty to reasonably investigate our clients claim prior to terminating his benefits. However, Hartford did not even bother to retain a physician to review his claim and failed to have a physician’s examine him to determine whether he was disabled. Our client was clearly disabled as was confirmed by the Social Security Administration when they determined he was not capable of performing full-time sedentary work.

Hartford Upholds Decision To Deny Benefits and Claimant Files Suit In Federal Court

Hartford upheld its decision to deny our client’s benefits claiming that the medical evidence failed to support his inability to work in a full-time sedentary capacity. Dell & Schaefer filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of our client alleging that Hartford violated his rights under ERISA and that their decision to terminate his benefits was arbitrary and capricious. The suit was amicably resolved in a confidential settlement prior to trial.

If you would like to obtain a free consultation to discuss your disability insurance claim please contact the law firm of Dell & Schaefer.

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FAQ

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.

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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.

Reviews

Bruce R. (Arizona)

Steve Dell has done an exceptional job with my disability application process. The firm is extremely well managed. They have acquired an incredible amount of experience over many years. I recommend them for disability insurance claims without reservation. 

Don (Florida)

I called this firm a few months ago completely disparaged due to a company cutting off disability benefits at a time that nearly caused me to lose everything.

Attorney Alex Palmera and Danielle worked hard to reach an amicable settlement and my case was settled a few months later. This is a good firm and the specific expertise in disability claims saved me countless hours of hassle at a time when an already fragile state existed.

Thank you Mr. Palamara and Danielle.

Sandra B. (Arkansas)

I have nothing but good things to say about how my buyout was handled with my disability claim. The level of professionalism was amazing. All of my questions and concerns were answered either by Danielle L. or Alex P. in such a timely manner and with such care I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to approach their provider with buyout options.

They did a fantastic job communicating between the provider and me, always keeping my best interest at heart and always answering my many many questions. They really did take most of the stress out of this whole situation. I would give them a 10 out of 10 for every step of this crazy journey. Thank you so much for helping me through this.

Brenda R. (New York)

I needed assistance with an appeal for a LTD claim that was initially denied. Stephen understood what needed to happen to win the appeal and he did win the appeal for me.

Michael C. (Virginia)

Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

Jeff P. (Oklahoma)

After a very long and frustrating ordeal to keep my LTD payments coming I decided to seek assistance from and attorney. After much research and asking those in the legal profession Dell & Schaefer seemed to be the top choice. I reached out and Alex Palamara was the attorney assigned to my case. All I can say is the experience was outstanding. Both Alex and his Paralegal, Danielle Lauria were excellent to work with. They were very kind, concerned, understanding of my frustrations and treated me with the utmost respect. Communication was excellent with regular updates and telling me what I could expect in each stage of the process.

Alex was also very straight forward with what to expect and no pie in the sky promises or expectations were made. In the end we won our case and I believe it was solely due to their experience and knowledge of not only the laws but the insurance companies as a whole. I would highly recommend them and am very grateful for the help they afforded to me.

Chad B. (Illinois)

I originally spoke with 3 other long term disability lawyers about my case before contacting Dell and Schaefer. None of those law firms would take it. They said the chances of me winning was not good. After finding Dell and Schaefer online I spoke with one of the attorneys that has since left. He did take my case but later it was picked up by Rachel Alters. Rachel is amazing and a very intelligent attorney. She not only won my case but also was able to get my back pay for 6 months.

I also cannot say enough about Sonia Nogueira. Sonia was always quick to answer any of my questions. I would usually hear back from her within hours of sending her a email. I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t contacted them. My family and I cannot thank them enough. Don’t let an insurance company tell you they are not responsible for paying you. I paid them for 20 years monthly and they looked for any reason they could not to have to pay me when I needed my benefit. Thank you Rachel and Sonia for all you guys do.

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