Dr. Eric Klein, a practicing dentist, was insured under two disability insurance policies with Northwestern. Both policies defined total disability as being unable to perform one or more of the principal duties of his occupation.
Dr. Klein suffered nerve damage to his non-dominant left hand that left him unable to practice dentistry in the same capacity as he did prior to the injury. So, Dr. Klein filed for disability benefits based on his injury. He and his doctor advised Northwestern that he is limited in the types of procedures he can perform, has to contort his body in different ways and requires an assistant at all times.
Based on the information from Dr. Kelin and his doctor, Northwestern approved his claim but for partial disability as opposed to total disability.
What does principal duties really mean?
Under the policies at issue, the ability to perform some of the principal duties of dentistry left Dr. Klein partially disabled. Since he was able to perform dentistry in some fashion, even though it was not at the same level as before his injury, Northwestern determined he was partially disalbed.
One notable question that remains unanswered is what are the principal duties? In a case like this, it is important to clearly and definitively define what principal duties define the occupation. Perhaps Dr. Klein could perform some duties of dentistry but it was never clear whether those duties were principal duties. That could have changed the course of his claim.
Our goal as disability insurance attorneys to understand that kind of nuance and use it to our advantage. We have handled similar cases - total vs partial disability - and use our experience to push back on the insurance company to clearly define what the occupational duties entail. There should be no gray area in a case like this.
Lawyers with Expertise in Disability Insurance Claims
This law firm has always focused only on disability insurance law.
Because we specialize in long term disability, our clients get the benefit of:
- Having an attorney who is an expert in long term disability claims;
- Having an attorney who has experience with every major disability insurance company;
- Being backed by a law firm that has a proven track record of winning tough disability lawsuits.
Call Dabdoub Law Firm to get experienced disability lawyers on your side.
We can help with:
- Submitting a disability insurance claim;
- Appealing a long-term disability denial;
- Negotiating a lump-sum settlement; or
- Filing a lawsuit against your disability insurance company.
The firm represents clients nationwide with disability claims governed by federal law, even if we are not located in your state.
Call to speak with an experienced disability attorney. Pay no fees or costs unless you get paid.