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

UNUM Denies Accidental Death Benefits Due to Poor Health of Insured

Our client's husband died after falling and hitting his head on their back patio.  The trauma caused a subdural hematoma which became mortal in less than four hours.  The death certificate classified the death as "accidental."  The "immediate cause" of death was listed as "subdural hemorrhaging from blunt force injury to head" and a "contributing condition" was listed as "thrombocytopenia." Client submitted a claim to UNUM Insurance Company for benefits under an accidental death policy.  UNUM denied the claim based on a limitation in the policy that excludes coverage for accidental losses "caused by, contributed to by,  or resulting from diseases [...]

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

Disability Claim – Surveillance Video – Back Injury

Our client was in a serious auto accident at the age of 22, which confined him to a wheelchair due to serious back injuries.  Despite his serious disability, he returned to school to learn computer programming.  He successfully returned to the workforce and became a program manager for Oracle Corp.  Due to a combination of his serious back injuries and the wear and tear after 17 years of working as a computer programmer and manager, his back finally gave out, precluding him from working full time.  He applied for and received long term disability benefits. Four years later, on December [...]

Disability Claim – Degenerative Back

Our client was a pharmacist for 32 years.  His back began to bother him the last 6-7 years before he was unable to continue work.  Pharmacists must be on their feet almost all day and his back condition precluded him from standing more than 20 minutes at a time.  The disability insurer denied benefits after doing a job survey to determine that other employers (not our client's) would allow him to use a stool to accommodate his back problem. Stennett & Casino retained a vocational expert who performed a more thorough job market survey and found that although employers by [...]

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
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