The disability attorneys of the Law Office of Shawn E. McDermott LLC have prevailed again on an ERISA long-term disability to Liberty Life Assurance Company (underwriter of disability insurance policies for Liberty Mutual). Our client suffered from severe cervical spine pain, acute transverse myelitis, encephalopathy, and fibromyalgia. Despite the fact that Liberty Life had approved Ms. B for short-term disability, the insurance company erroneously determined she did not meet its definition for long-term disability. Liberty Life based its determination on a medical review by one of its in-house physicians and an incomplete review of all our client’s medical records. As is often the case, Liberty Life completely disregarded the opinion of our client’s treating physicians, instead relying on its own flawed evaluation.
Ms. B contacted our firm with assistance in filing an appeal of Liberty Life’s adverse benefits determination. We obtained several additional pieces of documentation, demonstrating Ms. B’s obvious disability. In addition to making several compelling arguments which proved that Liberty Life had completely overlooked certain evidence in reaching its initial decision to deny LTD benefits, we obtained a Functional Capacity Evaluation from a well-respected therapist to submit with the appeal and also provided supportive letters from Ms. B’s treating physicians. Following Liberty Life’s review of thorough appeal submitted by our office, it determined the original decision to deny benefits was wrong, and granted long-term disability benefits to our client. She has now been provided all past due benefits and is currently receiving monthly payments on an ongoing basis.
The above story of Ms. B is not unusual. Although the ERISA statutes have been interpreted in favor of employer plans and the long-term disability insurance carriers for many years, the internal appeal process (which must be completed as a prerequisite to the filing of a lawsuit, if necessary) can still be successful if handled correctly and competently. We have the necessary experience to do just this. If you need assistance in submitting a thorough, well-prepared ERISA disability appeal, or require assistance with a claim under your private long-term disability insurance policy, please contact the disability lawyers at the Law Office of Shawn E. McDermott.