U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Sides with Dabdoub Law Firm’s Client

A Florida dentist was diagnosed with cervicalgia after a car accident. Despite the crippling back and neck pain that made his work unsafe to continue, Reliance denied his request for long-term disability (LTD) benefits. He appealed the denial, but the insurer continued to rely on an inaccurate assessment from one of its contracted medical professionals and denied the appeal. The case went to a federal court, which sided with our client, but Reliance appealed that decision. The case was moved up to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which sided with our clients, marking a major victory for Dabdoub Law Firm.

Details of the 11th Circuit Case

Our client was rear-ended by another driver in April 2012. Two days later, an MRI confirmed he had cervicalgia, an acute form of neck pain often related to a traumatic spine or back injury. He tried to continue his work as a dentist because he loved his profession. However, three years later, the day-to-day pain from the lingering injury was too great and he experienced too many other complications, such as the inability to steadily hold standard dentistry tools. In 2015, he resigned and filed for LTD benefits.

He submitted numerous records from his doctors and medical providers that described his medical condition and the disabilities it caused him. Despite the substantial evidence, Reliance denied his LTD benefits claim. With our help, our client appealed Reliance’s denial, arguing that the insurance company failed to fairly evaluate the presented evidence to reach its conclusion.

As part of its appeal process, Reliance had our client’s reviewed by Dr. Butler, a medical professional contracted by the company to conduct claims reviews. Bizarrely, Dr. Butler seemed to understand and acknowledge all of the limitations that our client’s back and neck pain were causing him, but he still argued he was not disabled to the extent that he was deserving of LTD benefits. In fact, the summary of Reliance’s conclusion was that our client would feel pain no matter what, so he “may as well be working” while experiencing that pain.

When Reliance denied his appeal, we were forced to escalate that matter to a local district court. Not to our surprise, the court ruled in favor of our client, having found that Reliance knowingly neglected evidence of his disability to draw its own conclusions. The court ordered Reliance to pay our client several hundred thousand dollars in past-due benefits. To some surprise this time, Reliance appealed that decision as well, moving the case up to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

At this point, Reliance’s argument became more focused on denying that it had cherrypicked medical evidence and less focused on whether or not our client was actually disabled. Under the steady hand of our talented lawyers, the case moved forward with success, and the Eleventh Circuit ruled in our client’s favor, affirming the motions against Reliance.

Dabdoub Law Firm specializes in long-term disability benefits claims and lawsuits. We used that expertise to win disability benefits for our client after his insurance company refused to recognize he deserved them.

Help from a Lawyer with Expertise in Disability Insurance

Dabdoub Law Firm was built to be a disability insurance law firm, first and only.

Our level of focus means:

  • All of our lawyers specialize in disability insurance claims;
  • We have experience with every major disability insurance company; and
  • We have won important long term disability lawsuits.

Our disability lawyers can help you with: 

Hiring an experienced disability attorney is important. Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, our lawyers do not have to be located in your state to help you.

Call (800) 969-0488 for a free consultation with an experienced disability attorney. Pay no fees or costs unless you get paid.

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