Hartford’s Life Insurance companies reliance on surveillance video to terminate benefits was appropriate

Citation: Plaintiff v. Hartford Life Ins. Co., No. 8:04-cv-1741-T-24TGW, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18681, (M.D. Fla. Aug. 31, 2005).

Plaintiff was employed as a boatman for the Tampa Bay Pilots. He became disabled and unable to work due to hepatitis C, lumbar radiculopathy and failed back syndrome. Plaintiff began receiving long-term disability benefits in November 1996 until April 2003, when Hartford Life Insurance Company (hereinafter “Hartford”) discovered, through a seven-day video surveillance, evidence indicating plaintiff’s physical capabilities far exceeded the limitations that he described to Hartford’s interviewer and his treating physicians.

Specifically, Hartford found that the video surveillance showing plaintiff working on his boat, bending, climbing a ladder, lifting heavy objects and using a leaf blower directly contradicted plaintiff’s self proclaimed physical limitations such as an inability to perform activities in excess of an hour despite being on pain relievers, an inability to stand for periods longer than 10 to 15 minutes and an inability to carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk.

Plaintiff brought suit against Hartford seeking to reinstate his benefits. Plaintiff claimed entitlement to continued disability benefits because Hartford erroneously relied on limited medical records to reach its decision and that the disability surveillance video relied upon was irrelevant because it was taken during a period of unusually high activity because he was moving homes and was taking extra doses of pain medication.

The Florida court found that Hartford did not improperly render its decision based on limited medical records because five months before the termination of his benefits, plaintiff told Hartford that he had only two current treating physicians. Moreover, the court found that Hartford’s reliance on the surveillance video was proper because in this case, it was objective evidence that plaintiff’s physical capabilities exceeded his self-reported limitations, and as such, Hartford’s use of video surveillance was appropriate.

Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Hartford claimants nationwide?

We represent Hartford 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 Hartford disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Hartford claimants?

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

  • 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   *****

Louis P., MD

My chronic health problems had progressed to the point that it was impossible for me to continue practicing my specialty as an obstetrician and gynecologist. With my physician’s support and excellent own occupation professional disability insurance policies I began the application process solo and with confidence that approval would be easy. After several months of endless and confusing demands for documents, files, records and reports by the insurance carriers I was in a panic over the realization that I was in over my head and that my entire financial future could be ruined by mistakes on my part during the application process.

Having seen ads by Dell & Schaefer, I contacted them on-line with a summary of my situation. A phone call was received from Gregory Dell within hours of submitting the on-line inquiry. His competence and knowledge was immediately apparent and reassuring. After a thorough discussion of my case I could not copy the files fast enough to get them to his office and in his capable hands. End of the story is that the results were much better than I could have imagined. Money is not one of my problems.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

Speak With An Attorney Now

Request a free legal consultation: Call 800-682-8331 or Email Us