Bartolic Law has experience getting insurers to pay long-term disability benefits to clients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. In one particularly notable case, our client’s Rheumatoid Arthritis progressed to the point of widespread joint pain in the client’s elbows, wrists, hands, and knees. The insurer placed our client under surveillance attending a doctor’s appointment and running an errand. The insurer characterized the surveillance as the client walking in a park, and carrying a large shopping bag, and then used the surveillance to terminate disability benefits, notwithstanding extensive medical records and the client’s treating doctors consistently telling the insurer the client was unable to perform even sedentary work. Because medical records and doctor opinions were not enough, Michael Bartolic traveled to the client’s home and captured photos and videos. We showed images of railings the client had installed around the home to help the client maintain balance while walking. We showed the client attempting to wash dishes and needing to break after only a couple of minutes. We showed the client unsuccessfully trying to carry a laundry basket full of clothes.
We then, on video, reviewed the surveillance footage and had the client narrate it. In the video, the client explained the scenery was not a park, but the outdoor area of a doctor’s office building where the client attended an appointment. The client also explained the shopping bag shown was large because the retailer ran out of smaller bags, and the only content in the bag was one bottle of perfume the client bought for a niece’s birthday. We explained there was no dispute that the client could walk one block to get to an appointment, and that the client could lift and carry one pound—the approximate weight of the perfume bottle in the bag. We tailored our approach to the case to focus on taking away the bases the insurer had to dispute benefits. This is what we do in all clients’ cases—match our strategy to eliminate the insurers’ bases for its position—whether through strategic images and video, testing, interviewing doctors, or running searches on insurers’ files to pinpoint the location of the very evidence the insurer asserts does not exist. We have done it many times before, and we can do it for you.
Commonly known as RA, rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease that causes severe pain and inflammation of the joints. RA can come on due to genetics, infection, stress, or other unknown causes. In addition to making it difficult to use certain joints, RA can also result in problems with your eyes, mouth, lungs, skin, heart, blood, and blood vessels.
Even with treatment, many people with rheumatoid arthritis can no longer participate in their usual daily or work activities. This can be debilitating for sufferers and difficult on their support systems, as well. Yet obtaining disability benefits can be complicated. When insurers hire doctors to review your file, most lawyers repeat the same failed approaches of arguing your doctors are more qualified and have more experience with you than the insurers’ doctors. Though true, that approach has not been typically accepted by courts. The better approach is to show why your doctors are more credible by pinpointing every flaw in the insurer’s doctor’s reasoning. The best way to quickly discredit their process is to find all the evidence the doctors say does not exist, and show how they mischaracterize the contents of specific records.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
If rheumatoid arthritis has a serious effect on your ability to work, you might qualify for long-term disability benefits. The claim process can be a challenging one, but Bartolic Law is ready to help. For a case evaluation, complete the questionnaire below, and one of our representatives will contact you.