Legal Updates

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District Court Finds That A Formal Functional Capacity Evaluation is Compelling Evidence of Disability

Stennett & Casino filed a complaint in San Diego Federal District Court against United of Omaha Life Ins. Co. for terminating its client's long-term disability (LTD) benefits. United of Omaha initially paid LTD benefits due to disability related to the client's low back pain following two surgeries. Omaha, however terminated benefits after one year concluding that the surgeries had resolved client's low back problems. Stennett & Casino had their client undergo functional capacity testing and submitted the findings of that testing to Omaha during the administrative appeal process. The Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) found that the client had a maximum sitting [...]

The Danger of Replacing Your Old Life Insurance Policies

The Agent’s Commission is Their Motivation The replacement of existing life insurance policies with new policies (referred to as twisting) is a practice that has been abused by insurance agents for decades.  Because the agent’s commission is heavily weighted toward the first year’s premiums (commissions equaling as much as 120% of first year’s premiums) their financial incentive is to convince clients to buy policies, not to service old policies. The agent makes larger commissions when their client rolls over the cash value of their existing policy into a new policy because the cash value (often tens of thousands of dollars) [...]

By | 2014-11-20T10:33:27+00:00 November 20th, 2014|Legal Updates|0 Comments

DISABLING SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON DISEASE

Most people associate Parkinson Disease as a disorder characterized by resting tremor.  Often the resting tremor is not noticeable because it is controlled by medication.  However, a major aspect of the disease effects cognition which cannot be controlled by medication and which may be the most disabling symptom of Parkinson. The cognitive impairments associated with Parkinson include visuospatial ability, memory, and executive functions.   If the requirements of a job include quick decision making, supervision of employees, working with the general public, writing detailed reports, and other types of executive functions, the cognitive impairments resulting from a Parkinson diagnosis would disable [...]

By | 2014-05-29T11:48:20+00:00 May 29th, 2014|Legal Updates|0 Comments

MLS Website Supports Fibromyalgia Disability Claims

Typically insurance companies hire Medical Services Companies to have one of their physicians review a disability claimant’s medical records to confirm that the claimant can work.  MLS, MES, PDA, PRN, UDC, BMI, PsyBar are some of the Medical Service Companies frequently used by insurance companies to perform a “record review” to bolster a denial of benefits.  These third party vendors claim to be independent but in truth are anything but.  In fact, many of these vendors have been formed by prior employees of insurance companies.  To try to support their claim of independence they produce Websites that claim their impartiality [...]

By | 2014-05-20T11:07:52+00:00 May 20th, 2014|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Court Declares That Unum Has A History of Biased Claims Handling

The 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in the case of Stephan v. Unum Life Insurance Company, 697 F.3d 917 (9th Cir. 2012) overturned a trial court’s finding that the public record did not demonstrate that UNUM had a history of “biased claims administration.”  The Stephen Court specifically stated “Numerous courts, including ours, have commented on Unum’s history “’of erroneous and arbitrary benefits denials, bad faith contract misinterpretations, and other unscrupulous tactics.’”  Indeed, in Saffon, we attributed the trend of state prohibitions on discretionary provisions in insurance contracts to ‘the cupidity of one particular insurer, Unum-Provident Corp., which boosted its [...]

By | 2013-10-09T10:10:10+00:00 October 9th, 2013|Insurance Companies, Legal Updates|0 Comments

Lyme Disease Disability Claims Targeted by Insurance Companies

Lyme Disease is difficult to diagnose.  Although there are some laboratory tests that can confirm the diagnosis, the condition is mainly diagnosed clinically.  As a result, insurance companies often sieze upon the opportunity to argue that there is not objective proof of disability. Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. A person may be aware of the bite; however, he may not be aware that the tick was infected. In its early stages, Lyme Disease may be a mild illness with flu like symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fatigue, [...]

By | 2013-01-17T11:26:35+00:00 January 17th, 2013|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Why Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Patients Are Often Denied LTD Benefits

We have noted higher denial rates for disability claims from clients who suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  In order to combat these denials it is important to understand why insurance companies deny these claims.  Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue - though two separate diagnoses - have several similarities.  The medical community has not yet come up with any objective testing to confirm the diagnosis of either condition.  They are diagnosed based on the subjective symptomology and the exclusion of other possible explanations for the symptomology.  The overriding symptoms are joint and muscle pain and incapacitating fatigue often referred to as [...]

By | 2012-10-19T13:11:41+00:00 October 19th, 2012|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Perfecting Your Rights With Lupus Disability Insurance Claims

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain.  Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials.  In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues.  The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself, causing inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body. Lupus can cause unique problems in proving that one is disabled from returning to full time work.  [...]

By | 2011-09-13T09:43:41+00:00 September 13th, 2011|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Multiple Sclerosis Flares & Disability

A multiple sclerosis "flare" is a sudden worsening of one or more symptoms of the disease or the appearance of new symptoms which can last anywhere from days to weeks to months.  These exacerbations although temporary can be disabling, precluding a patient from gainful employment. Many clients who apply for disability benefits may be observed by an insurance company during a period when a patient is not experiencing a MS "flare."  However, since these "flares" can occur as frequently as once a month, a worker may be precluded from continuous gainful employment because the worsening or new symptoms frequently causes a [...]

By | 2011-09-08T11:23:01+00:00 September 8th, 2011|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Multiple Sclerosis Cognitive Dysfunction & Disability Insurance Claims

In addition to the very obvious physical symptoms of multiple sclerosis, such as loss of muscle function, problems with walking, vision disturbances, tremors, etc., there is a more debilitating symptom that often goes unnoticed - that of cognitive dysfunction.  This is separate and apart from the symptoms of fatigue and depression which also plague the MS patient. Common Disabling Conditions of Cognitive Dysfunction slowed speed of performance ability to retrieve memory affected reduced ability to recall words slowness in thinking impaired planning skills All of these non-physical impairments are not easily observable but have the most detrimental affect on being able to [...]

By | 2011-09-07T10:38:18+00:00 September 7th, 2011|Legal Updates|0 Comments
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