Before filing for long-term disability (LTD) benefits, our client spent 25 years as an electrical engineer for the Boeing Company in Los Angeles. He was set to continue working through his eventual retirement, but Meniere’s disease had other plans.
In 2015, our client began to experience sudden dizzy spells with nausea, vomiting, and hearing loss. He tried hard to keep working, but years later, he was forced to stop working. Fortunately, our client had a disability insurance policy with Hartford for exactly this kind of situation. He quickly filed for short-term disability (STD) benefits and was approved.
Later, however, our client applied for LTD benefits, and Hartford denied his claim. Instead of fulfilling its duties under ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) and acting in our client’s best interests, Hartford failed to consider the complexities of our client’s medical condition.
Dizziness, Nausea, and Balance Issues
Our client regularly suffers from dizziness, nausea, and balance issues due to Meniere’s disease, persistent postural perceptual dizziness (PPPD), and vestibular migraines. Although he only suffers during episodes, these episodes are regular and extremely unpredictable. A simple trigger can set off a lengthy, severe episode and cause our client immense pain and suffering – even though he seeks regular treatment with medical specialists.
Notes From an Otolaryngologist with a Focus on Vestibular and Balance Disorders
One of the specialists our client sees is an otolaryngologist with a focus on vestibular and balance disorders. According to this doctor, our client suffers from dizziness with visual and sensory overload. In addition to vertigo, our client suffers photophobia and phonophobia (extreme sensitivity to light and sound) – all symptoms that meet the diagnostic criteria for PPPD.
With PPPD, Meniere’s disease, and vestibular migraines, our client simply cannot exist in visually busy environments nor function and concentrate in the workplace. Because his conditions are so easily triggered (by food, the weather, etc.), he is unable to perform the duties of his occupation.
To make matters worse, our client is suffering from left-sided hearing loss because of his Meniere’s diagnosis.
Can Hartford imagine working as an electrical ear with near-constant wooziness, lightheadedness, headache, brain fog, ringing in the ears, sweating, spinning, blurred vision, and violent vomiting?
These symptoms are triggered whenever our client sits down to use a computer, turns on a television, drives through traffic, walks in a supermarket, is exposed to fluorescent lighting, or even turns his head.
One of our client’s main job responsibilities is looking at a computer, which means his vertigo triggers effectively render him disabled from his occupation.
Support from Our Client’s Family and Coworkers
Hartford did not approve our client’s initial claim for LTD benefits, which included information from our client’s doctor. Because the insurance company failed to listen to our client and his health care providers, Dabdoub Law Firm also included testimony from our client’s family and friends.
According to our client’s wife, he is not only unable to work but also unable to enjoy many of the activities he used to love. This woman cannot go out to dinner with her husband of 30 years because his condition may be triggered. Social events are risky, and her husband’s medical conditions even interrupt their sleep at night. Still, our client’s wife watched him try to go to work time and time again only to be driven home by coworkers or managers because he could not drive himself. Recovering from episodes is excruciating for both our client and his wife. She only hopes LTD benefits will grant them some reprieve.
Our client’s children have had to drive him around and pull over so he could throw up. Before his illness, our client was an active man and outstanding employee. His children looked up to him. Now, they are constantly concerned for his health and well-being and understand that he no longer belongs in the workplace.
Even our client’s coworkers believe it is time for him to stop working. Although he was a wonderful teammate before his illness struck, his conditions severely impacted his performance. He often had to sit in his car while he waited for the dizziness to pass or could be found vomiting at his desk. Our client’s coworkers found it difficult to watch him struggle with his medical conditions – perhaps a sign that he should not have been working, in the first place.
Questioning Hartford’s Reality
With all the evidence above, we do not know what reality Hartford was living in when it claimed our client could work full-time. Just because our client can perform a sedentary position during the rare moments when his symptoms are not triggered does not mean he is capable of maintaining his occupation.
If Hartford were to realistically consider our client’s claim, they would come to the obvious conclusion that using a computer and performing his stressful job would undoubtedly trigger our client’s symptoms and render him unable to work.
We gave Hartford a chance to revise its reality and give our client a full and fair evaluation. The insurance company complied, issued LTD benefits, and paid retroactive benefits in full.
Our Lawyers Specialize in Disability Insurance Claims
Because our law firm has always focused only on disability insurance, our lawyers are experts in legal representation for disability insurance benefits.
That means our disability lawyers have:
- Won several major disability lawsuits that improved the law for disability claimants.
- Experience fighting every major insurance company, including UNUM, Hartford, MetLife, CIGNA, Prudential, and more.
- Successfully represented hundreds of clients and won millions of dollars in disability benefits.
Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, we can help clients across the country.
Disability insurance companies have lawyers. You should, too. 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.
Call us at (800) 969-0488 or contact us online for a free consultation with a disability attorney. You won’t face any legal fees or additional costs until we recover benefits on your behalf.