Category: Blog

Seventh Circuit: “Unfortunate Circumstances” Not Enough to Warrant Pension Payments to Deceased Worker’s Daughter

Jun 19, 2018 | Blog |

By: Andrew B. Bryant Mother Died Three Days Before Pension Payments Would Have Vested With Daughter In a truly unfortunate set of circumstances, a woman who worked for 37 years at a Wisconsin children’s hospital passed away three days after her retirement date, with her pension payments set to begin another three days after he date of death.   The woman’s daughter, the named beneficiary under the pension plan (“the Plan”), was denied payments under the Plan because the date of death preceded the beginning of pension payments.   In upholding the denial of benefits, the Seventh Circuit noted that in order […]

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Common Disputes in Short-Term Disability Insurance

May 31, 2018 | Blog |

Short-term disability insurance provides temporary wage replacement benefits in the event that you are suffering from a disabling condition, though the benefits apply for a very limited period of time — in most cases, short-term disability benefits are only paid out for six months to one year of proven disability.  After sufficient time has passed that short-term disability benefits are no longer available, you may be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits (if you are still disabled and if you are a long-term disability policyholder). Unfortunately, despite having paid for short-term disability insurance coverage — and relying on such coverage […]

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Illinois Law Prohibits Discretionary Clauses in Insurance Contracts

May 25, 2018 | Blog |

If you’ve had a legitimate insurance claim denied in Illinois — whether a health insurance claim or a disability insurance claim — then you may find that the insurer justifies their denial on the basis of a discretionary clause written into the policy. Discretionary clauses can vary in function somewhat, but as a general rule, they give the insurer the ability to interpret (in accordance with their own standards) the terms of the contract.  This type of “discretionary” power gives the insurer an enormous advantage when it comes time to determine whether or not to award health or disability benefits. […]

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Hiding a Condition on Your Disability Insurance Application May Affect Your Benefits

May 18, 2018 | Blog |

In Illinois, and elsewhere, it’s critical that disability insurance policyholders avoid misrepresenting the truth on their application.  It’s worth noting that your application for disability insurance policy will typically require that you confirm the truth and accuracy of all statements made in the application. Failure to adequately and accurately represent the facts on one’s application may be used later on by the insurer as a justification to deny an otherwise legitimate disability benefits claim — the insurer will likely argue, for example, that they are entitled to rescind the insurance contract as a consequence of the misrepresentation at issue. You […]

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Disability Claimants Must Make Reasonable Attempts to Recover

May 11, 2018 | Blog |

In Illinois, policyholders may have their otherwise legitimate disability claims denied if they fail to exercise reasonable efforts in recovering from their disability (and otherwise mitigating their losses).  As a general rule, policyholders must uphold their end of the contractual bargain, so to speak — the insurer is not an absolute guarantor of losses suffered by the policyholder.  The insurer can only be held reasonable losses that arise due to the disabling condition at-issue. Confused?  Let’s take a quick look at the duty to mitigate imposed on disability policyholders in Illinois. The General Duty to Mitigate Throughout the country, insurance […]

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Attorneys Fees Awarded to Defendant in ERISA Disability Benefit Claim

May 3, 2018 | Blog |

By: Jennifer Danish Courts infrequently award attorneys’ fees to defendants for having to defend themselves in ERISA disability benefit claims. Recently though, the Court, in James W. Hackney v. Allmed Healthcare Management, Inc., No. 3:15-CV-00075-GFVT, 2018 WL 1981902 (E.D. Ky. Apr. 27, 2018) ordered an unsuccessful plaintiff to pay the defendant attorneys’ fees and costs, because the plaintiff pursued a cause of action not generally recognized as available under ERISA. Hackney brought a state law negligence claim against Allmed for rendering an unlicensed medical opinion about him in connection with his long-term disability benefit claim under an ERISA-governed benefit plan […]

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Disability Insurance: A Look at Ambiguous Exclusion Clauses

Apr 30, 2018 | Blog |

As a general rule, insurers do everything possible to minimize their liabilities.  In the disability insurance context, this may involve the denial of an otherwise legitimate benefits claim on the basis of an exclusion written into the insurance policy. Exclusions are often written in a particularly ambiguous way, however, so as to encourage prospective policyholders to enter the insurance agreement — the policyholder may interpret the exclusion in a broad and more favorable manner, when the insurer actually intends to interpret the exclusion more strictly.  Once you have become disabled, the insurer’s interpretation of the exclusion may come as something […]

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Seventh Circuit: ALJ Impermissibly “Played Doctor” In Denying Fibromyalgia Disability Claim

Apr 26, 2018 | Blog |

Andrew Bryant & Jennifer Danish On April 4, 2018, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion vacating the denial of a Supplemental Security Income disability claim brought by 47-year-old Rebecca Ann Akin, who suffered from fibromyalgia, back and neck pain, and headaches. Akin v. Berryhill, 887 F.3d 314 (7th Cir. 2018). On appeal, Akin argued that the administrative law judge wrongly discounted her allegations of back pain, improperly credited the opinions of agency doctors who had not reviewed all the medical records (including MRI scans) and disregarded her history of headaches. In its opinion, the Seventh Circuit described […]

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Insurers Must Act in Good Faith When Handling Claims

Apr 23, 2018 | Blog |

In Illinois, and throughout the country, the nature of the insurance business — whether in the health insurance, property insurance, business liability insurance, or disability insurance contexts — is to sign on policyholders while limiting the payout amount in a potentially covered event.  Considered from the perspective of the insurance company, success is being able to deny coverage for a legitimate claim, or perhaps delaying the processing of the claim to such an extent that the policyholder simply withdraws from any further attempt at recovering their rightful benefits. State and federal law grants policyholders a number of rights, however, centered […]

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How Are Long-Term Disability Benefits Affected By Supplemental Income?

Apr 16, 2018 | Blog |

As a long-term disability (LTD) insurance policyholder, you may find yourself in a particularly vulnerable position.  Despite the fact that you have been rendered disabled, your insurer may delay, undervalue, or deny your legitimate claim for long term disability benefits.  Insurers are always on the lookout for opportunities to minimize their various liabilities.  If you are receiving supplemental income, your insurer may see it as an opportunity to avoid having to pay out benefits. Fortunately, in most cases, you are entitled to received LTD benefits even if you are receiving supplemental income from various sources.  You may even be entitled […]

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Bryant Legal Group - Chicago Healthcare and Disability Attorneys

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"Mr Bryant, his partner Jennifer Danish and associate Steve Jackson were efficient, diligent and persistent towards finding a just resolution and favorable outcome for myself and my entire company."

"I used Jennifer Danish for a disability claim. Frustrated that I couldn’t get results myself I found her. She unearthed some issues my doctor did Not notify me of that affect the quality of my life. My end result was positive!"

"Mr. Jackson did an outstanding job in relation to my case. He insured I was. Both prepared as well as informed regarding the hearing. I would highly recommend his skills and personal dedication to the client."

"Though difficult for the obvious reasons, your involvement has made this process infinitely more tolerable. Please know of my sincere appreciation for your efforts. With Very Best Regards,"

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