When Georgia Lawyers Become Disabled – We Fight for Your Long Term Disability Benefits
We are the lawyers that other lawyers hire when disability insurance doesn’t pay. Disabled lawyers’ claims involve unique issues and challenges. Many of our disabled-attorney clients are very sophisticated about their insurance. Many of them have spent a great deal of money to obtain the best possible individual disability coverage. That is not always the case though. Other lawyers we represent rely on group coverage provided through a law firm, sometimes with very little understanding of the pros and cons of the firm’s coverage. We are happy to help both kinds of clients.
Lawyer disability claims often arise due to mental and emotional issues. Our occupation is certainly more mental than physical, so in order to succeed we have to consistently function at the highest level emotionally and intellectually. Even a relatively minor cognitive or emotional problem can cause a lawyer to be unable to compete in a highly demanding and stressful work environment.
Knowing that we, as attorneys, work more with our minds than our bodies, we have been disappointed to learn that some of our lawyer clients are covered by policies that do not afford good protection for disabilities of the mind. Many policies contain a “Mental and Nervous Disorder Limitation,” generally limiting benefits to two years where a disability is caused by a mental or nervous disorder. This is a problem for our attorney clients, because a Mental Limitation places a big hole right in the middle of the coverage, precisely where we need the most protection. We have litigated the contours of these policy provisions many times, and often to great success.
We have represented, among others:
- The number one ranked graduate of a major private law school who, in his 25th year of a successful career, sustained a difficult-to-document mild brain injury in a car wreck. The issue was whether he was disabled by a brain injury or by a pre-existing, but normally well-controlled, bipolar disorder. We developed substantial medical proof of the cause of disability, and filed suit in federal court. After winning two key issues and obtaining two favorable reported court decisions, the the insurer paid a substantial sum to settle the claim for past and future benefits;
- A 61 year old Managing Partner of a 1,000 lawyer, multi-state law firm, who worked for a number of years despite treatment for cancer. When he had to stop working, his insurer denied the claim contending that he should have been able to continue. We helped develop additional medical proof, and managed to get his claim paid outright, without compromise and without litigation;
- An employee benefits attorney who, many years into his career, feel down a flight of concrete stairs and sustained a “mild” brain injury. His brain injury caused him mild cognitive deficits and crippling headaches. Again, the insurer denied the claim outright saying he was able to work, but also asserted a Mental and Nervous Disorder limitation. We developed the medical evidence, filed suit in federal court, and won this case outright on summary judgment for the Plaintiff. The insurer paid to settle the claim for past and future benefits.
An experienced disability lawyer should know immediately whether a given claim is governed by federal or state law, and should know the ramifications of that distinction. The attorney should also have a clear understanding of the details of the coverage, and how insurers sometimes misinterpret their own policies – rarely for the policyholder’s benefit. The lawyer should have a deep understanding of the medical issues, and a willingness to continue to deepen that knowledge as necessary, engaging the best possible experts in the process.
Lawyer disability claims are uniquely challenging and require creativity and careful attention to detail. We are often able to resolve claims for our attorney clients without having to initiate lengthy and costly litigation. Sometimes a dispute cannot be resolved through the claims process. Where litigation is necessary, we will pursue your claim aggressively, engaging all the resources necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.