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 with Hartford or any disability company, then please contact the law firm of Dell & Schaefer.

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FAQ

Do you help Arkansas claimants nationwide?

We represent Arkansas 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 Arkansas disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Arkansas claimants?

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

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
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  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
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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.

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Antoine P.

After my insurance company arbitrarily decided to close my disability benefits I contacted several firms to handle my case. I was impressed with Attorney Rachel Alters who took my call personally. She was direct, knowledgeable and compassionate at the same time. Her firm was responsive and I felt I had (finally) someone on my side.

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