Long-Term Disability Lawsuits

Posted By Kil Mallock on Aug 9, 2017 | 0 comments

You have already applied for long-term disability benefits, and you were denied. So you appealed the denial and were once again unsuccessful. The next step you can take is a lawsuit. With the help of an attorney, this lawsuit can help you receive your long-term disability benefits. In 2016 Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company faced a lawsuit in which the insurance company denied the claimant benefits for a pre-existing conditioning. In the case titled “Okuno V. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company”, the verdict was decided in the United States Court of Appeals in the sixth circuit.

Patti Okuno had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease before she began working as an art director for The Limited, a clothing company. Her diagnoses were under control as she was able to continue working on a regular basis. Seven months into working for The Limited, Okuno’s symptoms worsened. After many visits to specialists, Okuno was further diagnosed with narcolepsy, Crohn’s disease, and Sjorgen’s syndrome, and Okuno found it extremely difficult to work through her condition. After using up her short-term disability plan, through The Limited’s insurance provider, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, she applied for long-term disability benefits.

Okuno was denied long-term benefits for her current health state due to the limit placed on pre-existing conditions. Reliance Standard would not grant her benefits for illnesses possessed before she began working. Okuno then appealed this ruling, claiming that her additional impairments are “separate and distinct” from her original diagnosis of fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease. Okuno’s second and third appeals were related to her denial of benefits because of mental illness limitations. Reliance Standard would not grant Okuno proper benefits, due to the clause that states that mental illness related disabilities cannot receive more than 12 months of benefits. After three lengthy appeals that took place over the span of 25 months, Okuno filed a lawsuit. Okuno finally received success, and the published case description states, “in light of the reasoning set forth above, we REVERSE the order of the district court and REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

According to Fields Law Firm, when it comes to filing a lawsuit, it is important to act quickly, hire an experienced lawyer, mind your words and actions, and be wary of settlements. Acting quickly is crucial in ruling out any legal timeframes in the process. A lawsuit is also an extensive process that requires a highly knowledgeable and skilled lawyer. Our Miranda Rights state that anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law, so it is important to not say or do anything that might make you appear healthy and able during this lawsuit process. And finally, if the insurance company is worried about paying their reparations if the suit goes to court, they may offer a settlement, which is not the full amount of money you deserve, so it is important to consult your lawyer before considering settlements.

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