Here at Frankel & Newfield, PC, we represent doctors across the country when their disability insurers deny their claims or prematurely terminate their disability payments. The practice of medicine is both physically and mentally demanding, with long hours, stressful situations, life-and-death decision making and potential exposure to radiation and chemicals. For these reasons, unexpected disability and an interruption of salary is not unexpected.
When someone buys disability insurance or joins a group disability policy at work, he or she deserves to be financially protected should injury or illness interrupt the ability to work and earn a living. Accordingly, when it becomes necessary to file a claim under his or her disability insurance policy for benefits, it should be enough proof for the insurer look at the claimant’s medical records from treating physicians as well as other objective medical evidence like lab tests, X-rays or other kinds of scans, depending on the condition.
Today we continue our discussion of insurance company use of physical and online surveillance of disability-insurance claimants in an effort to find evidence that might discredit claims of injury and illness. If a picture, video or social media post suggests that a claimant can do something in his or her personal life that is inconsistent with his or her impairments, the insurer may use it as a basis to deny a claim, sometimes even when the person's treating doctors and objective medical evidence say otherwise.
We recently told you the story of a Canadian writer whose disability insurance provider reportedly denied his claim for benefits based on depression. In that post, we described a Toronto Star article about an allegation that the insurer in that case had used as evidence pictures posted on social media that showed the claimant looking happy. We have had a client had this happen to them in the past on a claim for depression, where the claimant was seen "smiling" on surveillance.
Canadian media has exploded with a story that broke a couple of weeks ago about a well-known Canadian writer and professor whose disability insurance claim for depression was denied after he took a leave of absence. According to the Toronto Star, the author’s physician informed him that the disability insurer had denied the claim after viewing pictures on social media in which he looked happy and active.
People have health insurance to cover their medical expenses when they are injured or ill. However, what happens when a person becomes disabled and cannot earn an income for a significant period of time? It won't take long for a person to burn through their paid sick leave and vacation time. Health insurance covers medical expenses, but it does not reimburse a person for the income lost when a medical condition keeps a person from working for an extended period of time. That is when having another type of insurance is important: disability insurance.
Those who suffer from a mental illness often suffer in silence. Not only is there a stigma attached to having a mental illness, but it is usually no physical monikers that allow others to see that a person has a disabling mental illness. However, a significant number of disabilities fall into the category of mental or behavioral illnesses.
Many times, when a person starts a new job or even if they've been in the same position for a while, they are fortunate to be offered a variety of job benefits by their employer. It can sometimes be confusing to determine which benefits are worthwhile, and which a person can make do without. Some benefits that could prove to be very valuable are short-term disability insurance policies and long-term disability insurance policies.
When a person becomes seriously injured or ill, and cannot work for an extended period of time, they may be very thankful if they have disability insurance through their employer. These benefits can provide policyholders with the compensation they need to make ends meet until they can go back to work. However, in order to obtain such benefits, they will first need to file a claim with their insurer.
Insurance is a part of life for most people in our nation. One type of insurance that many people do not take out but can be very beneficial is disability insurance. It is important for workers to know what a good disability insurance policy looks like, so they can decide whether to take advantage of this important benefit.