Group Product Manager with Chronic Migraines Wins Case for Long Term Disability Benefits Administered by Liberty Life Assurance

A federal appellate court finds a group product manager, who worked for Wachovia and suffered from chronic migraines, is entitled to long term disability benefits. Wachovia’s disability plan was administered by Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston.

The disability plan gave the plan administrator, Liberty, the ability to determine what objective evidence was necessary to prove disability. The problem is that Liberty never told the claimant what type of objective evidence was needed.

Background

Sharon Creel was a group product manager for Wachovia Bank when she was forced to stop working because she was hospitalized due to left side paralysis and chest pain. She also suffered from depression, anxiety, and migraine headaches. She filed for disability benefits but Liberty only approved her benefits for 24-months based on the plan’s mental health limitation.

Ms. Creel appealed Liberty’s determination. She submitted evidence of her disability based on migraine headaches, a physical condition. This evidence included medical records demonstrating migraine symptoms, a report from an expert, and supporting opinions from treating doctors. The only evidence Liberty requested was a migraine diary, which Ms. Creel provided. All her evidence supported debilitating migraines.

The Appellate Court’s Review of Ms. Creel’s Claim

The Court found that Liberty, and in turn Wachovia, wrongfully denied Ms. Creel’s claim. The Court noted that in cases involving medical conditions that cannot have objective medical testing like pain and migraines, other types of evidence will do.

In this case, Ms. Creel submitted a migraine diary which supported her diagnosis of migraines and the degree to which they limited her functionality. Her doctors submitted questionnaires that fully supported her disability. She had a report from an expert that brought together all the evidence, symptoms and doctor’s opinions. The report concluded that her migraines are unpredictable and prevent her working in any capacity. The Court determined she submitted sufficient proof of disability.

How We Can Help

As disability attorneys, we have handled several migraine cases. We follow the guidelines set forth in Ms. Creel’s case to help frame our client’s disability claim.

We understand there is no blood test or scan that can show migraines. In lieu of that, to demonstrate the severity of our client’s condition, we gather evidence including:

  • Doctor’s opinions,
  • Migraines diaries,
  • Witness statements, and
  • Clinical records.

Just because there is no objective evidence does not mean you cannot win your case. We have successfully obtained disability benefits for clients suffering from migraine headaches. We can help you too.

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The firm represents clients nationwide with disability claims governed by federal law, even if we are not located in your state.

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