DarrasLaw recently represented one of the most successful cosmetic dentists in the nation in a battle with his disability insurance carrier. Before disability, our dentist-to-the-stars enjoyed visiting the local mountains on his days off. During one of those trips, he slipped on a steep trail and fell, careening down the slope, destroying his right shoulder and developing severe back pain.
Our dentist did not immediately file a disability claim. Like many professionals, he continued working through the pain, limiting his dental procedures, and began consulting instead. Unfortunately, his serious injuries did not resolve. Our dentist could no longer hold steady the sharp instruments of his trade. Worse, he was prescribed narcotic pain medications that caused significant cognitive side effects. After months of unsuccessful treatment, he finally filed his disability claim.
The insurance company quickly denied, alleging he could still consult. The carrier used his perseverance during the months he tried to rehab from his injuries against him. In disbelief, he turned to DarrasLaw for help. Our firm recovered the delayed disability benefits owed under his policy and extra damages to punish the wrongdoing. Often carriers think it is OK to put the insured through the wringer and then try to get off the hook by paying what was originally owed late. At DarrasLaw, we get our clients what they paid for and hold billion dollar insurance companies accountable.
How can you avoid the same problems?
Here are the top five mistakes professionals make when filing a disability claim.
1. Changing Your Occupation
Carriers love to argue that you have dual occupations or can do some of your pre-disability duties like running the business or consulting because you transitioned to less-demanding work before filing a claim. Take our dentist for example, who began consulting when he could no longer safely practice hands-on dentistry. If you truly have two occupations, you must be disabled from both or your claim will be denied.
2. Failing to Provide Your Occupational Demands
Arm your treating doctors with all the information they need to answer the carrier’s questions about the physical and mental demands of your work.
3. Understating Your Activities
After filing a claim, avoid using the words “always” and “never.” If a policyholder says he can never drive and the carrier finds him driving, a denial letter is in the works.
4. Posting on Social Media
Facebook rarely reflects the realities of a physical or mental disability. Know that your carrier is watching your Internet activity and will use every post against you.
5.Deciding to Appeal without Proper Counsel
After a denial letter is sent, policyholders generally have the option to appeal instead of filing a bad faith claim. Consult an experienced bad faith disability lawyer before making this important decision.