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.

Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Standard claimants nationwide?

We represent Standard 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 Standard disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Standard claimants?

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

  • 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   *****

Shirley W.

My husband was looking for attorneys to help me with my disability claim. He was in Florida on business and happened to call Dell & Schaefer by accident. I have been out of work due to physical illness with an emotional component related to the pain from my physical problems.

My employer used a 3 party administrator for disability claims and they were less than helpful. I was afraid I was going to loose everything if they stopped paying my benefits. I received a phone call from attorney Rachel Alters. She was my angel! She had me fax all the communication I had received from the disability company. She read through all the of sideways language and was able to explain every bit of it to me. Best of all, once I hired Dell & Schaefer I did not have to talk to “the company again.” What a relief! As soon as “the company” found out I had a lawyer everything turned around. I was deemed totally disabled not only for my job but any JOB. Rachel guided me patiently and kindly through every step of this process.

As it stands now, “the company” is paying me a lump sum settlement, that Rachel worked very hard to obtain. They will continue to pay for the services of the company working on my social security disability. Rachel also negotiated my life insurance will be paid by the company until I am 65.

Also “the company” wanted to keep any retro-payments due to me from social security. Rachel stood up for my best interest and any funds that are due to me from Social Security are mine and “the company has no right to them.” Rachel has also educated me about managing a large lump sum of money and the responsibility associated with making it last. Rachel Alters is my lawyer but I also consider her my friend (I have never met her) but only a friend would work so hard to protect the interest of someone else.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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