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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Denial of Disability Retirement Reversed Stennett & Casino's client was employed by the County of San Diego for over 10 years in a clerical position. She had to stop work because of an injury to her knee resulting from continued banging against a desk when she was placed in an awkward work station. Despite the fact that she underwent 4 unsuccessful knee surgeries that left her with severe standing and walking limitations and severe pain with extended sitting, the County asserted that it could accommodate her limitations and continue to provide her a sedentary position. The County denied the client's [...]
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded plaintiff Laura Kieffer 4.2 million in damages in her civil lawsuit against Paul Revere Life Insurance Company and Unum Group. The award represented $600,000 in past and future disability benefits, $600,000 in emotion distress and $3 million in punitive damages. Ms. Kieffer was a dental hygenist in 1988 when she purchased an individual disability policy from Paul Revere. Beginning in 1996 she developed several disabling medical conditions, including carpel tunnel syndrome and cervical pain radiating into her upper extremities, preventing her from being able to perform the repetitive motions and fine hand manipulations [...]
Hartford Insurance Company Found To Have Abused Its Discretion In Termination of Long Term Disability Benefits
Ms. Mennucci underwent spinal fusion surgery for cervical neck pain that radiated into her right arm. Hartford initially paid short term and long term disability benefits to Mennucci. However, when she failed to fully recover from her surgery and complained of continuing neck pain radiating into her right shoulder Hartford Insurance terminated her benefits based on a medical record review by Dr. Richard Kaplan.
Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) Required To Cover Accidental Death of Intoxicated Driver in California
Courts across the country have struggled with whether an accidental death insurance policy covers the death of a drunk driver. Some courts have ruled that intoxicated drivers knowingly increase the risk of being involved in a fatal accident to the point that their death becomes foreseeable and thus, not accidental. Other courts disagree, citing the fact that there is less than a 1% chance of an intoxicated driver being involved in a fatal accident. […]
Ms. Holmstrom suffered from a painful nerve condition in her right arm which did not resolve even after three surgeries. She was left with an incurable diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). MetLife paid benefits until the definition of disability changed from an inability to perform the material duties of one’s own occupation to that of any occupation. MetLife cited the lack of any objective evidence to support Ms. Holmstrom’s diagnosis of CRPS. […]
You receive a letter from your insurance company advising you that your disability claim is denied or terminated. After the initial shock wears off, here are the steps you should take to obtain your disability benefits. Step 1 – Do not request an appeal before you collect all necessary paperwork for your claim. All too often, one’s first reaction is to write their insurance provider telling them they have made a mistake and asking them to reconsider your claim. While you will eventually speak to your insurance provider about your claim denial, you must first take these additional steps. [...]
Our client was 4-1/2 months into her first pregnancy when she was admitted to the hospital in labor and her first child was stillborn.