Legal Updates

Navigating Disability Claims Amidst Lingering Post-COVID Symptoms

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a new and complex health challenge has emerged: the enduring effects of the virus on some individuals, known as "long COVID" or "post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection" (PASC). As we delve into the intersection of health and disability insurance claims, it becomes evident that the range of persistent symptoms associated with long-term post-COVID can play a pivotal role in supporting disability claims. Understanding The Impact The spectrum of long-term post-COVID symptoms is broad, encompassing a myriad of challenges that can disrupt both personal lives and professional pursuits. Let's explore how these symptoms [...]

By |2023-08-29T17:40:22+00:00August 10th, 2023|Disability Insurance Claims, Legal Updates|0 Comments

Can An Employer Be Held to Its Word?

We have handled many cases where an employer has advised an employee, either directly or indirectly, that they were entitled to certain benefits even when the Benefit Plan did not provide the benefits promised. Examples would be false promises that a pension would vest or life insurance would continue after leaving employment when in fact the Plan did not provide the continuing coverage promised.   What are your remedies when the Benefit Plan does not provide coverage but the employer erroneously advises that there is coverage? When you adversely rely on this erroneous advice the remedy is a claim for [...]

By |2023-07-10T19:54:40+00:00June 13th, 2023|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Accidental Death Insurance Policy Covers Heroin Overdose Death

A widow, whose husband died of an accidental overdose of heroin, sought benefits under an accidental death insurance policy sponsored by her former husband’s employer. The plan was governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The insurer denied the widow’s claim asserting an exclusion in the policy for “loss caused wholly or partly, directly or indirectly, by… intentionally self-inflicted injury.” The insurer argued that decedent intentionally used in illegal substance that directly resulted in his death.   The widow filed suit and the case eventually went before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court drew a correlation [...]

Insured Does Not Need a Proper Diagnosis Or Supporting Objective Tests To Prove Disability

The recent case of Abrams v. Unum life Ins. Co. of America, 2022 US Dist. LEXIS 23195T0 highlights that a claimant may prevail on his/her disability claim without supporting objective medical evidence or even a proper diagnosis.   In April 2020 Mr. Abrams, who was a trial and appellate lawyer, began to experience frequent, almost daily, fevers. He also experienced severe fatigue and mental fogginess. He saw seven medical doctors with different specialties. He complained of the same symptoms of brain fog, fatigue, decreased attention and concentration and fevers. Three of his doctors diagnosed him with Long-Covid and four with [...]

By |2023-02-27T21:53:44+00:00February 27th, 2023|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Life Insurance Company Collects Premiums From Ineligible Employee

Stennett & Casino filed suit against our client’s life insurance company for not paying benefits following his wife’s death. Sally taught the hearing-impaired at the public school. She herself was deaf and communicated mostly by sign language. Her speech is called deaf speech which is difficult to understand until one becomes accustomed to it. Sally’s benefit package as a teacher included life insurance and disability insurance. The premiums for those insurances were deducted from her paycheck.  Both policies were written by the same Insurance Company. Sally received a cancer diagnosis in early 2020. She stopped working as a teacher in [...]

By |2023-04-10T20:35:55+00:00December 20th, 2022|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Death from Drug Overdose Was an Accident – Not Suicide

Client’s husband died from an overdose of a combination of prescribed drugs, including [drug* and drug*] Decedent had suffered from a very painful condition that required long-term use of the prescribed narcotics. Over the last year before his death, he had been unable to work but had hidden that from his wife by pretending to go to work each day.  He had been depressed and was in severe financial debt at the time of his death. In order to avoid liability under an accidental death policy, MetLife claimed that the death was not “accidental”, but rather the result of suicide.  [...]

By |2022-12-09T21:20:40+00:00October 11th, 2022|Legal Updates, Success Stories|0 Comments

Side Effect of Medication Causes Disability

The Federal District Court in San Diego issued an opinion granting disability benefits to a client of Stennett & Casino that contains several quotable statements relevant to ERISA disability claims. Stennett & Casino’s client’s claim was that side effects from medication taken to control seizures (fatigue and cognitive slowing) prevented him from returning to work. The disability insurer, Lincoln National, initially paid disability benefits while our client was actively having seizures. But once the medication successfully controlled his seizures Lincoln National, terminated his benefits based on the opinions of two physicians retained by Lincoln National who neither examined nor talked [...]

By |2023-04-10T20:42:23+00:00September 8th, 2022|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Post-Chemo Disability

When a diagnosis of cancer is followed with treatments that include chemotherapy, patients often experience lingering symptoms of fatigue, muscle weakness, brain fog (often called chemo brain), decreased ability to concentrate, and peripheral neuropathy. In some people, these symptoms can last well past the remission of cancer.   This is precisely what happened to a client of Stennett & Casino who had a disability policy through her employer with United of Omaha. Omaha provided disability benefits while she was going through treatment. But those benefits were terminated by Omaha after she went into remission.   Though her cancer was in [...]

Post-Covid Syndrome Can Support a Claim for Disability Benefits.

Most people with Covid-19 recover completely within a few weeks. However, some people, even those with mild versions of the disease, continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery. Even people without Covid-19 symptoms in the days or weeks after they were infected can have post-Covid conditions. These conditions can present as different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time.   These post-Covid conditions may also be known as long-Covid, long-haul Covid, post or chronic Covid. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and experts around the world are working to learn more about short and long-term [...]

By |2022-06-02T20:44:44+00:00June 2nd, 2022|Legal Updates|0 Comments

Who Has The Burden of Proof In An Insurance Claim

Whether you make a claim for benefits under an Accidental Death Policy or a Disability Policy the same burden of proof rules apply. The claimant has the burden of proving that they qualify for policy benefits (that they are disabled in a disability policy claim or that the death was accidental in an accidental death policy claim). However, the insurer has the burden of proving that any claimed exclusion in the policy applies to defeat coverage. As an example, in an accidental death claim the claimant must prove that the death resulted from an “accident” but the insurer who denies [...]

By |2022-05-03T18:00:12+00:00May 3rd, 2022|Legal Updates|0 Comments
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