Christine W. is 54 years old and worked in marketing for a large network of hospitals and healthcare facilities until she was forced to stop working in early 2018 due to severe back and leg pain resulting from severe scoliosis and flat back syndrome subsequent to Harrington rod surgery. Since that time, she has also undergone major spinal reconstructive surgery and is currently in the process of recovering from that surgery.
When Christine was forced to stop working, she applied for short term disability (STD) benefits through her employer’s disability plan, which was insured by The Hartford. Under the terms of the Hartford policy, Christine was entitled to receive STD benefits for up to 6 months if she was unable to perform the material duties of her own occupation. Because Christine’s medical conditions prevented her from working in her own occupation, The Hartford awarded her STD benefits, which it paid until March of 2018.
In March of 2018, Christine received an epidural steroid injection to treat her back pain, and it provided her with limited relief for 1-2 weeks. Unfortunately, because her treating physician’s records noted that her back pain had improved as of mid-March, The Hartford latched onto this statement and used it to terminate her STD benefits, claiming that she was able to return to work as a result of her improved condition.
Meanwhile, Christine traveled to New York to visit a world-renowned spinal surgeon to evaluate her for the possibility of reconstructive spinal surgery. After terminating her benefits, The Hartford encouraged Christine to promptly file an appeal before her New York surgeon could provide copies of his medical records, and soon denied Christine’s appeal before she could obtain any legal assistance to help with her appeal.
Fortunately, Christine contacted O’Ryan Law firm to assist her in filing a claim for long term disability (LTD) benefits. The Hartford initially denied her LTD claim because she had not received the full amount of STD benefits prior to applying for LTD benefits. However, O’Ryan Law Firm helped Christine appeal the denial of her LTD claim, providing extensive medical evidence to prove that The Hartford’s denial of her STD benefits was completely baseless and that it could not rely on that denial to support its denial of her LTD claim. Ultimately, The Hartford agreed and awarded Christine her LTD benefits after granting her LTD appeal. In fact, O’Ryan Law Firm’s LTD appeal was so convincing that after receiving it, The Hartford also retroactively overturned its denial of Christine’s STD appeal and paid her outstanding STD benefits in full.
If your short term disability benefits or long term disability benefits have been terminated because the insurance company claims your condition has improved enough to allow you to return to work, call O’Ryan Law Firm for a free consultation.