Back Pain and Disorders of the Spine
Back pain and disorders of the spine are a common type of disability handled by the lawyers of MyLTDbenefits.com. In many ways back claims are the most challenging in terms of recovering long term disability benefits. Nevertheless, these cases are winnable when presented properly.
In one recent case, the claimant alleged disabling pain caused by his longstanding problems with his back. The claimant’s application to Prudential for LTD benefits was bolstered by objective evidence of a back condition which supported his subjective complaints of disabling pain. The court found that although the LTD Plan did not expressly require objective proof of disability, it was reasonable for Prudential to seek such proof to ascertain the “occurrence, character and extent” of the alleged loss. The court found it compelling the claimant’s proof spanning a period of over two decades, including multiple back surgeries, his increasing age, and his increased dosages of pain medication.
Prudential repeatedly characterized the claimant’s decision to apply for disability benefits as a calculated decision to swindle Prudential out of monthly payments based on a nonexistent disability as a means to retire early. The court found these “aspersions without merit” upon review of the entire record revealing a condition that was chronic and degenerative. “Unfortunately, chronic pain from a degenerative back condition does not improve, but only gets worse as the deterioration continues with the aging [sic] process.” This case stands for the important practice of the attorneys at MyLTDbenefits.com to clearly establish the degenerative changes of our client’s back condition occurring over a number of months and sometimes years.
In another recent case, the claimant was diagnosed with spondylosis. Her doctor also found that the claimant was tender over the incision in her back with limited range of motion. The employer’s plan administrator, Unum, denied benefits, finding her “complaints of pain to be subjective and ‘not consistent’ with the objective findings.” However, the court found that it was an abuse of discretion for Unum to deny the claimant’s disability benefits claim. The medical experts repeatedly examined the claimant, and each evaluation resulted in objective diagnoses of medical conditions that caused her chronic back pain. The contrary medical evidence was minimal, the court found. The court discounted the analyses by Unum’s in-house doctors because they were based solely on documentary review instead of personal examination, and each physician that personally examined the claimant found objective evidence of her spinal ailments. This case demonstrates the importance of our use of IMEs and FCEs at MyLTDbenefits.com to develop the record based upon firsthand observations of our client by qualified medical providers.
Contact the long term disability experts at MyLTDbenefits.com to discuss your specific disability and the proper steps to recover your benefits in detail.