Withers v. Omaha
United of Omaha Wrong to Deny Disability Benefits to Kentucky Company Director
United of Omaha Life Insurance Company (“Omaha”) was wrong to deny short-term disability (“STD”) and long-term disability (“LTD”) benefits to a Director of Supported Employment in Kentucky
Ms. Withers worked as a Director of Supported Employment for a company in Kentucky. Although she had a complex medical history, her health began to worsen in late 2017. By January 2018, she left her job. Over the next several months, Ms. Withers had numerous medical visits. She had observable hand and head tremors, overresponse reflexes, chronic migraines and headaches, fatigue, and weakness, and cervical disc degeneration. She was eventually diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari malformation, chronic headaches, and secondary Parkinsonism.
The Claims and Denials
Unable to work, Ms. Withers filed for STD in January 2018. Although the claim was initially approved until May 2018, Omaha then denied further benefits. Ms. Withers also applied for LTD benefits but was also denied. She appealed both denials but Omaha upheld their decisions and denied both appeals.
In doing so, it had two doctors review her medical records. They did not physically examine Ms. Withers. Both doctors concluded that the medical records did not show significant impairment that would prevent her from working. Although doctors who treated and examined Ms. Withers concluded she was disabled based on physical examinations and observations, that did not change Omaha’s doctors’ opinions.
After Omaha denied her STD and LTD appeals, Ms. Withers filed a lawsuit. In reviewing the case, the trial court examined all of the medical evidence, including the reports prepared by Omaha’s doctors. The court considered a number of factors.
One factor the court considered was that Omaha’s doctors did not examine Ms. Withers even though they had the right to do so. Another factor was there was no evidence to suggest Ms. Withers’ medical conditions had improved after May 2018 when Omaha terminated her benefits after paying her for several months. Lastly, Omaha did not consider her occupational duties and her ability or inability to perform them.
Based on all the evidence, Omaha’s denials were wrong and Ms. Withers was entitled to disability benefits.
Help from an Attorney with Expertise in Disability Insurance
Disability insurance law is complicated. If your claim for long-term disability benefits was denied or being delayed by an insurance company, it is important to get help from a lawyer with expertise in disability law.
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