The nationally recognized disability attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped thousands of disabled workers obtain the disability benefits they deserve after The Hartford and other insurance companies unfairly denied their claims.
Marc Whitehead recently filed suit on behalf of a disabled 56 year old worker in Arizona, who became severely disabled while covered under a long term disability insurance policy issued and administered by The Hartford.
Founded in 1810, The Hartford is one of America’s oldest and largest insurance companies, raking in billions in revenue each year. They provide a wide range of group insurance policies, including short term and long term disability insurance. The Hartford does business in Arizona and other states.
The Hartford Denied Our Client’s Claim for Disability Benefits
Our client was formerly employed as a Enrollment Analyst in Arizona and is currently disabled due to Trigeminal Neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to brain. For a person suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of the face — such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup — has the potential to trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.
The Hartford denied his claim for disability benefits.
The extent of our client’s disability was such that the Social Security Administration had issued a fully favorable decision on his claim for Social Security disability benefits under Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act, ruling that our client was “disabled” during the relevant time period, a fact that The Hartford was aware of.
On February 22, 2011, The Hartford notified our client, affirming their original decision to deny our client’s claim for long term disability benefits, completely ignoring the findings of the Social Security Administration. Our client was also informed that he had exhausted all administrative remedies and they would consider no further claims or evidence. In this final denial The Hartford discounted the opinions of our client’s treating physicians and the thoroughly documented limitations from which our client suffers, including the effects of our client’s impairments on his ability to engage in work activities.
Our client had now exhausted all available administrative remedies, and was forced to file a lawsuit to obtain his rightfully owed disability benefits.
Like most group employee insurance plans, our client’s disability policy was governed by ERISA. ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It’s a federal law that regulates most employee benefit plans. Among other things, ERISA gives policyholders the right to appeal an insurer’s decision to deny benefits – in Federal Court, if necessary.
Venue & Jurisdiction of Long Term Disability Lawsuit
Suit was filed in federal court in Arizona pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States”) to our client’s rights under the ERISA.
The Judge agreed that our client’s claim was unfairly denied and ordered The Hartford must pay him the disability benefits he was entitled to under his policy.
How Long Do You Have to Sue?
You only have a limited amount of time in which to file a suit to appeal a denial of disability benefits. These deadlines are known as the “Statute of Limitations.” Your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the appropriate statute of limitations or your claim is lost forever. This is an absolute. One day late and your claim is over, PERMANENTLY. Oddly, ERISA provides for no statute of limitations directly, so instead you must look to each individual state for the appropriate deadline.
Most courts apply a breach of contract statute of limitations to a benefit denial claim under ERISA. In Texas, for example, the deadline would be four (4) years from the date of breach or denial. This varies from state to state. However, the insurance plan or policy may shorten the deadline pursuant to the terms of the plan. It is vital that you check your plan documents for any pending deadlines. Many plans shorten the deadline to three (3) years from the date proof of disability must be provided. Some plans have much shorter deadlines.
If your insurance company has unfairly denied your claim for disability benefits, don’t give up. The board certified disability attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates are here to protect your rights and fight to get you every penny you are owed. We’ve been representing disabled workers and veterans for over 25 years and know all the tricks the insurance companies use to try to discourage their clients from seeking the benefits they are owed. Don’t let the insurance companies deprive you of the benefits you deserve — contact Marc Whitehead & Associates to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and legal options.