A Federal Judge in Arkansas has determined that Liberty Life failed to properly consider a long term disability insurance claim, and has vacated the determination and remanded the claim back to Liberty Life for further consideration.
The long term disability insurance claim was based upon limitations due to fibromyalgia, and the Court sought to have Liberty Life further evaluate the claim, considering the claimant’s complaints of pain, evaluate her credibility and determine whether the record as a whole shows that the claimant is unable to perform the material duties of her job.
In its initial review and consideration of the claim, Liberty Life failed to properly give consideration to the issues of pain, and did not afford the claimant’s treating physician’s opinion any weight, instead relying upon a doctor who never met, treated, or examined the claimant. While the Court noted that this conduct is not per se improperly, in the present circumstances, the Court felt the reliance upon this paper Physician’s faulty conclusions was improper. Given that pain is a subjective issue, the Court determined that it would not be appropriate for Liberty to rely solely upon objective evidence in assessing her claim eligibility. Rather, her complaints of pain and their credibility, needed to be assessed.
The challenges of fibromyalgia, and other subjective complaint conditions, are common in our practice, and we work with our clients and their physicians to provide comprehensive details and evidence to support these claims.
Hare v. Liberty Life
Jason Newfield is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield. He has spent the majority of his legal career advocating for the rights of disabled workers. He has lectured other professionals, worked on a Federal Advisory committee, and published many articles in the field of disability insurance claims and litigation.
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