Many months of education and training allowed our client to enjoy a fulfilling career as an operating nurse in Orlando, Florida. She was no stranger to “holding retractors with one hand [and] delicate tissue with the other.” One day, however, she felt something “pop” in her neck and was soon met with excruciating pain. A cervical MRI confirmed multiple disc bulges in her cervical spine.
Although she attempted to work through the pain with conservative therapy, our client’s symptoms continued to get worse. Desperate to continue working, our client underwent invasive steroid injections. Our client’s condition came to a head when a sudden and short shooting pain caused her to lose sensation in 2 fingers, drop a heavy surgical tray, and nearly fall to the floor. Fortunately, the operating nurse was not working with a patient at the time.
Despite all this, our client underwent a major and highly invasive surgery and tried to keep working. When she realized she could no longer do her job, she filed for long-term disability benefits. Prudential ignored pages of medical evidence and denied her claim.
More Than Post-Surgery Difficulties
After dropping the tray, our client checked herself into the emergency room and had an anterior cervical discectomy fusion in which surgeons accessed her cervical spine through the front of her neck. The pain was gone for a brief period of time but slowly came back. While our client attempted to return to work, shortness of breath prevented her from walking through hospital corridors, and vocal cord paralysis, a consistent sore throat, and difficulty swallowing and speaking made it unsafe for her to assist in major surgeries.
Initially, doctors were hopeful these symptoms were simple post-surgical pain, but 18 months post-surgery, our client continued to suffer. Mercifully, she had a long-term disability policy to help make up for her loss of income. Because she could no longer complete the duties of her physically demanding occupation as an operating room nurse without putting patient lives at risk, she filed a claim to make up for a 20% or more loss in her monthly earnings.
Doctors agreed that our client never returned to her pre-surgery baseline – and that her condition prevented her from earning a gainful living. Still, Prudential denied her claim.
Prudential’s Unjustified Denial
Prudential ignored evidence of ongoing cervical pain, lumbar pain, shortness of breath, and vocal cord paralysis. Additionally, the insurance company glossed over physician letters, MRIs of the cervical spine, an electromyographic examination of nerve roots, and a diagnosis of significant degenerative disc disease. Instead of discharging its duties with “care, skill, prudence, and diligence” as required by ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), Prudential relied on its medical consultant’s opinion over the conclusion of our client’s doctors, physical therapists, and medical specialists.
Worse, Prudential explicitly ignored the repeated conclusions of our client’s treating physicians and stark warnings that our client could not return to a full-time position where a split second could be the difference between a patient’s life and death.
Our client’s doctor refused to release our client back to full-time work without restriction 3 times, but apparently, this physician’s opinion did not matter to Prudential.
Dabdoub Law Firm gave Prudential one more chance to issue a timely and favorable decision on our client’s behalf. Fearing litigation, Prudential complied.
Our Lawyers Specialize in Disability Insurance Claims
Because Dabdoub 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.
Federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, so we can help clients across the country.
Disability insurance companies have lawyers. You should, too. Contact 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 for a free consultation with a disability attorney. Your consultation is free, and you will not owe any legal fees unless we win your case.