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The Standard Narrowly Avoids Litigation on Cancer Claim

For our client in Lake Worth, Florida, a cancer diagnosis began a lifetime of disability. The Standard acknowledged this fact on multiple occasions, then terminated our client’s long-term disability benefits and claimed she could return to work.

Meanwhile, our client survived several invasive surgeries, chemotherapy, and cancer medication and lives with the resulting side effects, along with:

  • Type II diabetes
  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypercholesteremia
  • Hypertension
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Anxiety and depression

When our client told us The Standard terminated her long-term disability benefits, we were prepared to bring her claim to court. We simply gave the insurance company a chance to avoid litigation.

Career, Cancer, and Disability

Before her cancer diagnosis, our client worked as a claims team supervisor for Unified Women’s Healthcare. She was forced to abandon a 7-year-long career when she discovered a fast-growing lump in her groin which tested positive for poorly differentiated carcinoma.

Upon her diagnosis, our client sought aggressive treatment. She underwent a lymphadenectomy in her right groin area, a complete hysterectomy, bilateral oophorectomy, and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Our client also took several cycles of Yervoy (medication) to prevent her cancer from coming back.

As a result of her treatment, our client suffered from severe side effects, including:

  • Brain fog (trouble thinking)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Chronic, consistent pain all over her body (especially in her feet, hands, shoulders, and hips)

Combined with her other medical conditions (listed in the previous section), our client had no chance of returning to work. Due to drug interactions, she cannot even seek treatment for IBS.

When our client applied for short-term disability benefits, The Standard understood her situation and approved her claim. When our client’s short-term disability benefits ran out, and she applied for long-term disability benefits, The Standard approved her claim yet again.

The Standard acknowledged and recognized that our client is disabled due to malignant melanoma of the skin and recurrent differentiated carcinoma, as well as IBS and inflammatory diarrhea.

Our client’s medical condition has not improved. Why has The Standard’s opinion suddenly changed?

The Standard’s Policy Language Does Not Support Its Decision

According to our client’s long-term disability policy with The Standard, she is entitled to benefits as long as she is disabled from “any occupation.” She cannot perform the material duties of any occupation for which she is reasonably qualified, and her medical records continue to affirm her disability

Because The Standard has no justification for terminating our client’s benefits, the company’s decision is wrong and unreasonable. It also justifies litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

The Medical Evidence Does Not Support The Standard’s Decision

As part of our client’s appeal, Dabdoub Law Firm reiterated and supplemented our client’s medical records. We had her undergo a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), which confirmed that our client “would not meet the abilities required to perform sedentary work,” and highlighted that she cannot sit for more than 1 hour and 10 minutes or stand for more than 1 hour in each workday. She must also adjust the way she is sitting or standing every 15 minutes. On a scale of 1-10, our client’s pain is consistently at 7. Imagine trying to work through this level of pain. Most people would not be able to, and no one should be expected to.

In addition to her FCE, our client continues to see her doctors regularly. Her primary care doctor, dermatologist, oncologist, cardiologist, and rheumatologist all confirm that our client is consistently in pain and fatigued. To alleviate her chronic pain and fatigue, our client takes high doses of narcotics, which cause problems of their own.

To make matters worse, our client’s skin is peeling off (according to her dermatologist), and she is always itchy and in pain.

Our client is simply trying to manage her multiple medical conditions and prevent her cancer from coming back. She has not miraculously recovered, and her health remains perilous. Her medical records make this abundantly clear.

The Standard’s sudden and unexplained termination of benefits is a clear violation of ERISA.

Dabdoub Law Firm Helps Resolve a Heartbreaking Situation

To make sure The Standard understood the nature of our client’s plight, we also provided the insurance company with a heartbreaking letter of support from her mother. Our client’s mother says she is not the same person she was before cancer. Obviously, our client would much prefer to be taking care of her mother in the later stages of her life, but our client’s mother comes by every week to take care of her instead. She says her daughter’s condition is only getting worse.

Without long-term disability benefits, our client would not even be able to support herself financially.

Our firm was ready to sue The Standard for its botched medical review and wrong and unreasonable termination of benefits, but the insurance company reversed course upon reading our letter of appeal.

We are glad to have helped in this small way and wish our client the best as she struggles to regain control of her life after her devastating diagnosis and its aftermath.

Lawyers with Expertise in Disability Insurance Claims

Dabdoub Law Firm has always focused only on disability insurance law.

Because we specialize in long-term disability, our clients get the benefit of:

  1. Having an attorney who is an expert in long-term disability claims.
  2. Having an attorney who has experience with every major disability insurance company.
  3. Being backed by a law firm with a proven track record of winning tough disability lawsuits.

Choose our firm to get experienced disability lawyers on your side.

We can help with:

Our team represents clients nationwide in disability claims governed by federal law, so we can handle your case even if we are not located in your state.

Call us at (800) 969-0488 or send us a message online to speak with an experienced disability attorney. Your consultation is free, and representation costs nothing unless you get paid.