Standard Overturns Denial of Benefits to Shareholder of Major Law Firm

When Mr. L contacted us he had recently left a major law firm where he had been working for 27 years. Mr. L, a commercial finance and real estate transaction attorney, was forced to stop working due to debilitating symptoms from several medical conditions. He had been suffering from these conditions for several years but his symptoms had gradually worsened over time and eventually reached the point where he was experiencing substantial limitations in his ability to continue to work effectively.

To effectively perform the duties of his occupation, Mr. L needed the ability to maintain prolonged focus and operate under pressure to complete work with unyielding deadlines. In his practice, Mr. L had to review, revise and transmit drafts of documents via computer and email. Naturally, an inability to focus on a computer screen would make it difficult to perform the important duties of his position as a transactional attorney.

In 2011, Mr. L suffered from what was later diagnosed as a visual migraine, which essentially prevented him from comprehending words on his computer screen. He continued experiencing similar symptoms although he was able to continue working.

Over time, Mr. L noticed that his symptoms were directly related to working on computer screens and his symptoms were more severe when he was tired or had been looking at computers for long periods. As his symptoms worsened Mr. L began to think that he needed to retire and started seeing a mental health counselor to assist with the transition.

To make matters worse, in the fall of 2015, Mr. L began to suffer from very noticeable hearing loss accompanied by a dramatic increase in tinnitus which he had been experiencing for years. In October of the same year, Mr. L suffered a severe episode causing him to become severely nauseous while he felt his office was spinning out of control. He was taken to the ER and diagnosed with vertigo.

Following the October episode, he began to experience other and unpredictable episodes of vertigo with nausea about 3 to 5 times a month. The worsening of his symptoms together with the increase in frequency of episodes caused Mr. L to have to work longer non-billable hours to make up the time lost. He became less efficient at performing the important tasks of his position.

In the spring of 2016 Mr. L made the difficult decision to take a medical leave of absence. Soon thereafter, his visual migraines began to improve. This confirmed his suspicions that computer use was exacerbating his symptoms.

After filing his claim for disability benefits, The Standard, his disability insurance company, denied the claim stating Mr. L was not disabled under the terms of the policy. Mr. L contacted our firm for help with his appeal. We agreed to take the case. Upon reviewing the denial letter and claim file it became clear that The Standard did not fully understand the nature of Mr. L’s occupation. According to Mr. L’s policy, he would be considered disabled if he is unable to perform the substantial duties of his regular occupation. However, The Standard had to fully understand what was required to perform Mr. L’s regular occupation. Additionally, The Standard’s internal medical staff completely disregarded how Mr. L’s medical conditions affected his ability to work.

The appeal was 192 pages long and focused on making The Standard fully understand how Mr. L’s condition prevented him from effectively performing his occupation. The appeal included detailed responses from Mr. L’s treating physicians in support of Mr. L’s claim for benefits.

In denying the claim, the Standard had been focused on Mr. L’s ability to perform non-work related activities such as playing golf and yoga and relied on such abilities as a basis to deny his claim. The Standard also relied on the fact that some of Mr. L’s disabling conditions had been present for years.

Unfortunately, this is the case for many claims where the claimant files a disability claim based on conditions that have been present for years. It is often tough to pinpoint when the condition reaches the point where it is disabling under the terms of the policy. In Mr. L’s case, The Standard did not fully understand the nature of Mr. L’s occupation and the importance of the billable hour in the context of a large law firm.

After reviewing the appeal, The Standard overturned its decision to deny Mr. L’s claim and is currently paying Mr. L monthly disability benefits.

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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.

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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.

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