Jim S. had suffered a multitude of severe and progressive spinal impairments for several years and was forced to leave his job as a Circuit Design Engineer because he could no longer perform his job. The stenosis in his back, which caused nerve root compression, left him with severe pain and numbness in his lower right leg and foot; and pain, numbness and tingling in his right arm and thumb. Due to his pain and the medications he had to take to control it, Jim S. developed perforated diverticulitis and problems sleeping.
“It was clear to us that with these problems, Jim could not be expected to sit at a desk for long periods of time, and that he would have difficulty with the cognitive function he needed to do his work,” said Jeffrey Freedman, Managing Attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “He needed to go on Long Term Disability (LTD) to replace some of his lost income.”
Over the years, Jim S. went through a number of tests, surgeries and procedures to try to eliminate his pain. He had a solid work history, returning to work time and again following each of his surgeries. But in spite of the evidence, Jim’s application for LTD benefits was denied by his insurer, who stated, “the medical evidence fails to document any significant abnormal findings that would prevent you from performing the main and material duties of your occupation.”
“Under our appeal, the attorney working directly on the case, Alex Palamara, enlisted Dr. Paul K. Maurer, a neurosurgeon from the University of Rochester Medical Center,” Freedman said. “Dr. Maurer’s testimony was the turning point.”
Dr. Maurer said that he rarely does disability references because “of the obvious impact on the community at large as well as the patient.” However, he said, after treating thousands of surgical patients this was a case he could support in its’ entirety. The level of neuropathic pain Jim suffered, and the medications he took to control that pain, Dr. Maurer said, made him 100 percent disabled.
“Finally after more than a couple of years, the insurer had to agree and they awarded Jim about 19 months of back benefits, around $50,000. He also receives ongoing benefits of $2,585 a month, which means that since we obtained the settlement he has received $100,000 in benefits,” Freedman said. “It is a very satisfying feeling to obtain just compensation for someone who had suffered so much for so long.”
The firm takes Long Term Disability cases on contingency and does not receive a fee unless it wins benefits for the client.