Sedgwick Reinstates Long Term Disability Claim Following Appeal

Like many disability claimants, our client’s experience in dealing with Sedgwick was less than a pleasurable experience. After finding himself unable to continue to perform the very physically demanding duties of his occupation as a Traveling Field Engineer for Avaya due to Chronic Pain stemming from multiple lumbar and thoracic spine conditions he filed a claim for short and long term disability benefits under his employer’s plan, which was administered by Sedgwick CMS.

The Initial Denial of Benefits

In reviewing his initial application for benefits Sedgwick had our client undergo an Independent Medical Examination. Despite a plethora of objective medical evidence, such as MRIs and physical examinations noting restriction and limitations, Sedgwick’s doctor indicated that there were no “objective medical exam findings” to support his inability to perform the duties of his job. In light of Sedgwick’s IME doctor’s opinion, Sedgwick denied our clients short and long term disability claims. Upon receipt of the denial letter he contacted Attorneys Dell & Schaefer and spoke with Attorney Stephen Jessup.

The First Appeal

Attorney Jessup requested a complete copy of our client’s claim file from Sedgwick to assess the level of review conducted by Sedgwick and to determine what information would be needed to strengthen our client’s claim on appeal. The largest glaring inadequacy noted in Sedgwick’s review came in its evaluation of our client’s occupational duties. The only reference to our client’s job description was a four line blurb that gave a generalized overview of his duties as a field engineer. As his policies defined his “own occupation” to mean how it is performed in the national economy, Attorney Jessup turned to various governmental occupational information resources to gather additional information with respect to the physical demands of our client’s occupation. Admittedly, many occupations fall within “sedentary” and “light” demand level, but according to the Department of Labor our client’s occupation was in the Very Heavy demand level. Sedgwick turned a blind eye to this and instead reviewed his claim as if it only entailed his ability to do desk work.

Attorney Jessup then arranged for our client to undergo a Functional Capacity Examination to verify his inability to perform “Very Heavy” work and to further eradicate Sedgwick’s position that there was a lack of objective evidence to support an inability to perform his occupational duties. The results of the testing clearly documented our client was not able to return to his occupation as a Field Engineer. Following receipt of this report our client’s administrative appeal was finalized with additional Attending Physician’s Statements and updated diagnostic testing and then submitted to Sedgwick.

Approximately two months after the appeal was submitted, Attorney Jessup was advised by Sedgwick that it was overturning the denial of our client’s claim for short term disability benefits. Although this was certainly positive news Attorney Jessup quickly focused his attention to the status of the long term disability claim, which had been appealed at the same time as the short term disability claim. Two weeks after notice that the short term disability claim had been approved, Sedgwick sent a letter indicating that our client’s long term disability claim had been denied.

The Appeal for Long Term Disability Benefits

In denying the long term disability claim it became clear that Sedgwick’s sole focus was to discourage our client from pursuing his rights under this employer’s policy. However, he and Attorney Jessup were not deterred and prepared an appeal of the long term disability denial. Attorney Jessup argued that the same information used by Sedgwick to approve our client’s claim for short term disability was the same information now being used to deny benefits for long term disability benefits despite the information being contemporaneous to the period of long term disability. The lack of logic in Sedgwick’s denial was appalling, and Attorney Jessup set out to systematically address each and every contradiction in Sedgwick’s denial. Following the submission of the long term disability appeal Sedgwick was again left with little choice but to approve our client’s claim for long term disability benefits.

If history is any indicator we are confident that this will not be the last attempt by Sedgwick to try to deprive our client of his benefits.

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FAQ

Do you help Sedgwick claimants nationwide?

We represent Sedgwick 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 Sedgwick disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Sedgwick claimants?

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

  • 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.

Reviews   *****

Alan F.

I contacted Dell & Schaefer and was referred to Alex Palamara. I sent him the information that I had. The next day I got a phone call from Alex and was told I had a good possibility that of collecting on my policy. I was kept up to speed on the whole process. I really did not think I was going to collect a thing (the insurance co. does a good job of convincing you to give up). What was I going to do… make the insurance company mad because I didn’t believe them? Alex kept in contact with me and when the offer came in, I signed and a check was issued shortly.

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