Washington disability attorney filed lawsuit against the Hartford Insurance Company for denial of long term disability benefits to mentally disabled woman

A disability attorney recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client at the District Court for the Eastern District of Washington against the Hartford Insurance Company (Hartford). In the case of Robin (Hunt) Hankel v The Hartford Insurance Company /The Hartford Financial services Group, the plaintiff was a woman employed in the health Safety and Environmental Management/ Engineering field for Harpers. While employed with Harpers, she contributed to a disability insurance plan which was issued by Hartford.

On November 29th 2003, the plaintiff was relieved from work due to several medical conditions that prevented her from fulfilling the material duties of her occupation. She was diagnosed as having severe mental disorders resulting in her being deemed as having mental disability.

Change of Disability Definition Results in Hartford Claim Denial

On June 8th 2007, the plaintiff was informed by Hartford that her case will be subjected to a disability test change and her current disability benefits would be exhausted on June 29th 2007. The plaintiff was told that in order for her to qualify to receive more benefits, she had to demonstrate that her impairments prevented her from performing the essential duties of “any occupation” as of July 3rd 2007.

On October 1st 2007, the plaintiff appealed Hartford’s decision to deny her LTD benefits and was instructed to submit documentations to support her ERISA appeal. The plaintiff diligently supplied three years of medical records from her attending physicians as instructed by Hartford. She was later told by one of Hartford’s staff that the plaintiff did not need to provide additional documentations including the Attending Physicians Statement and Physical Capacities Evaluation.

On April 7th 2008, independent examination was performed on the plaintiff by Hartford. And based on this independent review, Hartford concluded that the plaintiff failed to prove that she was unable to perform the essential duties of any occupation and denied her claim for long term disability (LTD) benefits on May 9th 2008. Part of the reason for the denial was the failure on the plaintiff’s part to submit the Attending Physicians Statement and Physical Capacities Evaluation.

On June 25th 2008, the plaintiff submitted additional documentations from her attending physician which stated that the plaintiff was suffering from Chronic major depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stephen-Johnson Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Sleep Disorder, Neuropathy, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease, severe allergies, back and neck pain associated with degenerative disease and early signs of multiple sclerosis. The physician’s letter also indicated that the plaintiff was taking a multitude of medications.

Despite the additional medical documentations submitted, Hartford made no effort to further evaluate the plaintiff’s claim for LTD benefit and issued a letter to the plaintiff on October 22nd 2008 stating that the final appeal decision had been reached on May 9th 2008, and was based on “a complete and final administrative record.”

Allegations made against Hartford in the lawsuit

The plaintiff claimed that Hartford had denied the plaintiff’s claim for LTD benefits even though there was convincing medial evidence to support her disability. In addition, the failure by the plaintiff to return the Attending Physicians Statement and Physical Capacities Evaluation was due to improper instructions by Hartford’s staff. As a result of Hartford’s actions, the plaintiff has suffered damages.

Relief Sought

The plaintiff is seeking from the Court the following relief:

Comments (8)

  • Kimberley,

    Hartford’s doctor said you can do sedentary work? Have you filed an appeal? Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim.

    Stephen Jessup Nov 18, 2015  #8

  • I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and the Hartford denied my ltd because Dr. says I can do sit down jobs which I can’t.

    Kimberley H. Nov 18, 2015  #7

  • Retina,

    Your claim more than likely requires an administrative appeal of the denial before lawsuit can be brought. Please contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in filing your administrative appeal.

    Stephen Jessup Apr 25, 2015  #6

  • We need to file a class action case against Hartford because of numerous LTD terminations and negligence and abuse by Hartford.

    Hartford terminated LTD in the middle of retina detachment surgeries because the representative engaged in irregularities and nefarious methods. Representative failed to do evaluation after yesterday’s surgery as we agreed. Instead she terminated the LTD. Wish to file litigation against Hartford and take it to trial or settle. Help!

    Retina Hartford Apr 24, 2015  #5

  • Nick,

    How long ago did you submit your appeal? It is crucial to submit as complete an appeal as possible due to the fact that in the event of a final denial of benefits you will not be able to add any additional information to your file. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim.

    Stephen Jessup Feb 4, 2015  #4

  • I am a heart patient with 12 stents and my Dr. has gave a letter saying I can’t do any type of work. However, after 10 years, Hartford denied my disability since they say their Dr.’s say I am not disabled. I appealed with my Dr.’s letter and showing every year I had a blockage and was stented. Is this some thing you guys can help me with?

    Nick A. Feb 3, 2015  #3

  • Wanda,

    If you have not already filed your administrative Appeal please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in securing your benefit again.

    Stephen Jessup Dec 1, 2014  #2

  • I have been recently cut off of my LTD from the Hartford because I have not provided more proof from my doctors that I am still disabled. My doctor sent a report to them that I have not improved and am worse, but they claim this is not proof. Was their first diagnosis bogus? What is wrong with these people? All they do is harass! I am sick already, and they cause more stress and mental cruelty. I want my disability restored with all back payment.

    Wanda McLean Belcourt Nov 30, 2014  #1

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