Why Was Elizabeth Denied Disability Benefits?: A Client Story

Share Lawyers specializes in disability law. Our long term disability lawyers have represented over 8,000 clients who have been unable to work and have been denied long term disability benefits by their insurance company under their employee disability benefits plan.

Our law firm has been in business for over 35 years and has settled thousands of cases for clients. We don’t just dabble - we specialize in disability law and are one of the first law firms in Canada to focus specifically on disability law. By getting us involved, you are getting a team of experienced disability lawyers that will not only deal with your insurance company and fight for your benefits, but also provide you with the environment you need to focus on your health.

When our former client Elizabeth was denied, her insurance company dismissed her claim, stating both that she didn't have enough medical evidence and that they believed she could continue working. This is a very common response from insurance companies when applying for your disability benefits. It’s their way of saying that they don’t feel there is enough medical proof to support you being on disability leave. We believe that decision should be made by your doctors, as they are the ones who understand your medical situation best.

Your insurance company might have you speak to one of their doctors or have their doctor review your medical claim. While the insurance company may base their decision on the opinions of their doctors, the opinions of your doctors (and other health care providers) are important as well - they have your best interests in mind and know you better than a doctor who has spent a very limited amount of time assessing your disability. If their doctor’s review has resulted in a denial of disability benefits, then you need to contact us immediately.

When your insurance company has wrongfully denied your claim, we can reach a fair settlement of your claim by working together. Our disability law firm has helped them and we can help you.

Here is Elizabeth's story of getting sick, getting denied, and ultimately, receiving the disability benefits that she deserved.

Elizabeth's story

Once her five-year-old daughter began school, Elizabeth Harris re-entered the workforce. Elizabeth got a job at an insurance company’s call centre in Toronto. Poor ergonomics and job stress plagued her from the beginning, as in prior work experience, and eventually became too much for her.

Workstation causes discomfort

As at any desk job, the ease of use of her chair, desk, phone, keyboard, and computer monitor were important to Elizabeth’s comfort and health. These were not ergonomically correct, even after she repeatedly expressed concern to her supervisor. Over two years on the job, chronic pain had developed in her neck and right wrist.

Work conditions cause stress

Elizabeth also found her job emotionally stressful. Some callers were hard to please and a few each day would yell. All activity on her phone and computer was recorded and timed. She felt pressure from her employer to shorten each call, and she was expected to promote the company. Elizabeth felt particularly stressed as the economy worsened and some of her friends were laid off. When her best friend, who sat next to her, was laid off, it seemed a tipping point for her.

Doctor's views distressing

Emotionally stressed and physically aching, Elizabeth went to her doctor for help. In the doctor’s office, she broke down and cried. The doctor said that time off work was needed. She referred Elizabeth to see a psychologist, prescribed painkillers for her neck and wrist pain, and prescribed an antidepressant for the stress. Referring her to a surgeon for carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctor said that typing had become a health hazard. Rather than relieved, Elizabeth felt overwhelmed.

Short term disability claim approved

She applied for short-term disability benefits with her employer. Her claim was approved.

Long term disability application triggers trouble

Three months later, stressed and depressed about the state of her health and employability, Elizabeth’s pain symptoms and depression seemed to be getting worse while on leave – not better. She applied for long-term disability benefits. Her claim was denied and her employer threatened to terminate her employment with no severance if she did not return to work immediately.

Nurse friend refers Elizabeth to disability lawyers

Seeking help, Elizabeth turned to her friend who had used Share Lawyers in the past. Jim assured her that Share Lawyers could help. Unable to cope, Elizabeth followed Jim’s advice. Share Lawyers accepted her case.

Insurance company treats suit dismissively

The main issue in her claim for long-term disability benefits was that it was merely considered one of workplace stress. The insurance company was unimpressed by the medical evidence, which did not differ from her medical information over several prior years. It argued that Elizabeth had complained of a sore wrist and neck pain in the past but was always able to continue working. Also, it suggested that the weak economy had caused her to pursue the claim as surety.

Good evidence and good representation

Share Lawyers secured further medical information by having Elizabeth attend assessments with specialists who could explain the deterioration of her condition. The insurance company would find this case not so easily won. Indeed, Elizabeth was pleasantly surprised at the final outcome, despite the posturing that had taken place before and during mediation.

Good outcome

Share Lawyers successfully sued the insurer for long-term disability benefits and secured severance pay from her employer. She was relieved to have the case settled, and with the settlement funds, to focus on recuperating and start thinking about the future again.


A note from our long term disability lawyers

Taking a medical leave from work is not an easy decision to make. Concerns about providing for yourself and your family and keeping your job may cause you to want to push through your pain, but this won’t make your problems go away. Stopping work is often the smartest decision for your long term health and well-being, and your disability benefits are there to provide you with financial support until you can return to work.

If you have made the tough decision to stop working and apply for your short term disability or long term disability benefits, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and have questions that your employer and your insurance company are not able or willing to answer. Share is There to see you through and answer your questions.

Our disability law firm knows what you have been going through

We understand that things have not been easy for you over the last little while. Your health has been suffering, you are unable to work, and now your insurance company, who was supposed to be there in your time of need, has decided they will not pay your disability benefits or respect your disability claim. These benefits exist to provide you with the financial support you need so that you can focus on your health and rebuilding your life. It is unfortunate that your insurance company has not lived up to its promise. If your disability claim has been denied, we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Our disability lawyers have helped thousands of Canadians get their long term disability benefits over the past 35 years, and we can help you too.

Our experienced disability lawyers can fight back on your behalf

Share Lawyers believes that every client who is dealing with a disability claim deserves superior personal service. To achieve that goal, we have developed our team of experienced, compassionate, and caring long term disability lawyers, law clerks, and administrative staff to meet all of your needs. Our team of experienced long term disability, life insurance, employment, and critical illness insurance lawyers have made successful claims against many insurance companies, third-party administrators and employers.

If you are unable to work, your disability benefits should be there to provide you with the financial support you need. While your insurance company may be focused on finding ways to avoid paying your claim, our focus is on what is in your best interest. When Share Lawyers gets involved, you have an entire team of lawyers that are there to support you and to fight for what is yours.

Our disability claim lawyers fight for your disability insurance claim by relying on our many years of experience to apply the best strategic planning and approach in each case, using the latest technology available. Experience matters, and with Share Lawyers, you are in the best hands with 35 years of success on your side.

In this video, we explain the role of a long term disability lawyer and how we can support you when you have been denied your long term disability benefits.

Denied your long term disability claim?

Contact Share Lawyers today and put our experience to work for you. Our 35+ years of experience can help you win your case against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and other insurance companies. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless you win your case. Join us on Facebook and become a Top Fan for a chance to win each month.

Related Articles

We’re here to support you during this difficult time

How can we help?