An engineer's profession is crucial to the operation of many industries in the United States. Being an engineer requires keen attention to detail, knowledge of math, science, engineering techniques, and an aptitude for problem-solving. Engineers who are struggling with an injury or medical condition may be unable to perform their essential job duties. This may cause an engineer to apply for long-term disability (LTD) either through a group or individual LTD Plan.
If you are an engineer and your long-term disability claim was denied, reach out to our experienced long-term disability attorney. He is one of a very few attorneys nationwide who is experiencing in handling ERISA LTD claims. Our law firm has helped engineers appeal a wrongful denial for the benefits you deserve. Call our office today at 816-203-0143 to schedule a free review of your denial letter and a strategy for moving forward.
Engineers Who May Be Denied Disability Benefits
Though there are many types of engineers within the profession. Engineers who may be denied long-term disability benefits fall into these categories:
● Chemical Engineers
● Software Engineers
● Civil Engineers
● Electrical Engineers
● Mechanical Engineers
● Biomedical Engineers
● Aerospace Engineers
● Agricultural Engineers
Disabling Conditions for Engineers
To be considered disabled for long-term disability benefits you must be unable to perform your duties due to a physical or mental injury or condition that prevents you from executing them. Several conditions could make it challenging or impossible for an engineer to do their work. These conditions might be brought on by your profession, but they might also be unrelated. In either case, if you are unable to work, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits.
Common disabling conditions for engineers may include:
Accident or Injury
An accident or injury might prevent you from performing your job as an engineer. Long-term disability benefits are there for these types of situations in assisting you in regaining your life and career.
Medication side effects can negatively impact your ability to work and could impair your performance. If you’ve been prescribed medication to treat a health issue, it may also have adverse side effects that make you fatigued, experience brain fog, or be unable to concentrate/focus. This can make it impossible for you to work in a cognitively or physically demanding job. You might not be able to work safely and productively as an engineer if you take medicine that negatively impacts your physical or mental health.
Back and Posture Problems
Back and posture problems are common among engineers. The primary cause is often working in physically exerting environments and sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time. This can lead to soreness, tension, and headaches. Fatigue, spinal issues, and sore muscles are also common as an effect of poor posture and back pain.
Vision loss can be caused by several factors, including diabetes, hypertension, and glaucoma. If you experience vision impairment due to a condition such as diabetes or glaucoma, you may need to take a leave from work or adjust your work schedule to maintain productivity at your job as an engineer.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the tendons, ligaments, and nerves in the wrist. It can cause pain and weakness in your hand or arm.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may experience any one or more of these symptoms:
● Pain in your wrists, hands, and fingers
● Tingling sensation in your fingers
● Feeling numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in either arm
When engineers with this condition cannot use their hands for long periods due to pain, performing tasks such as gripping tools properly or typing on a keyboard at work becomes painful and/or difficult.
Neurological disorders are the most common disabling conditions for engineers. A few common examples are epilepsy, stroke, and dementia. The symptoms of neurological disorders vary widely from person to person and can be difficult to detect without an expert diagnosis.
Neurological disorders are also closely associated with depression and personality change. Similarly, memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease could also contribute directly or indirectly through changes in cognitive abilities. For example, memory encoding/retrieval, emotional processing, attentional capacity, etc.
Why Insurers Deny Long-Term Disability Claims for Engineers
Insurance providers may deny long-term disability benefits to engineers for several reasons, yet primarily it’s to boost and protect their bottom line. For this reason, they may deny your disability benefits for any of the following reasons:
Medical Evidence Does Not Support Your Claim of Disability
You may have experienced a denial of long-term disability benefits because the insurer did not believe your medical evidence established that you are disabled enough to receive long-term disability coverage.
Independent Medical Experts Refute the Findings of Your Physicians
Insurers hire independent medical experts to review your claim. These medical experts more than not haven't interacted with you and may cherry-pick your medical records to support the insurer and deny your disability claim.
The insurer might use whatever medical evidence they have to deny your claim. It’s common practice for them to choose certain experts who will give them the best chance of denying the claim.
You Do Not Meet the Definition of Disability as Outlined in the LTD Insurance Policy
The insurer could argue that the definition of disability as outlined in your LTD insurance policy does not apply to you. You can appeal this by reading through your LTD policy and consulting our experienced long-term disability attorney to provide a strategy for moving forward.
The Insurer Has Placed Active Surveillance on You
Insurers may hire private investigators or use social media to place active surveillance on you to gather information to deny your eligibility for benefits. This includes checking your medical condition, work activities, and lifestyle. The insurer could use limited information from surveillance to argue that you are indeed able to work. However, you can appeal this and show it was biased and not an accurate representation of your condition.
Working In ‘Own Occupation’ and ‘Any Occupation’
The insurer may argue that you are still able to work in a less demanding job or role. Most insurance policies have two categories; Own Occupation and Any Occupation. The "own occupation" definition of disability considers your capacity to carry out the practical, cognitive, and physical requirements of the job you were executing when you first became disabled.
The "any occupation" criterion of disability inquires as to your capacity to consistently and reliably carry out the material responsibilities of any occupation, not just your own.
It is crucial to note that, often, after 24 or 36 months of receiving benefits, the definition of disability changes. You'll usually need to satisfy an "own occupation" definition of disability when you initially become disabled. The definition could then shift from "own occupation" to "any occupation" after the ‘disability’ timeframe, at which point the insurance carrier will reassess your benefits to determine if you fit the new requirements.
If the insurance company believes you can perform the essential functions of your job with reasonable accommodations provided by your employer without causing further harm or limiting your ability to perform other tasks within your job description, they may deny your claim.
Should an Engineer Appeal a Long-Term Disability Denial?
If your long-term disability claim has been denied, and you believe it was unfair, you should appeal the denial with your insurer. Appeals need to meet all legal requirements and show that you are legally entitled to receive the long-term disability benefits.
Objective medical evidence of a disability is critical to winning an LTD appeal. This includes up-to-date treatment records, medical history, and administered medications. In addition, you should include letters or statements from your doctor outlining your condition and the restrictions and limitations prevent you from working.
A disability journal or third-party witness statements from family, friends, or coworkers could also provide a more comprehensive picture of your condition and how it affects the daily activities necessary for your work and life. Expert opinions from vocational professionals are also valuable pieces of evidence.
Our LTD attorney will include all relevant information that could solidify your appeal. He is experienced in the laws of ERISA, that governs LTD policies, which helps in strengthening your case.
Get Help from Our Experienced Long-Term Disability Attorney
ERISA governs most long-term disability policies and can be unforgiving to claimants due to its strict deadlines and rules. If you believe you have been denied benefits because of your disability, contact our experienced ERISA-trained long-term disability. He will explain the legal process and a strategy for moving forward and appealing the denial on your behalf.
Contact our office today at 816-203-0143 for free consultation or by filling out our online contact form. Our attorney will fight for the disability benefits you deserve. You can also instantly download our free guide for long-term disability appeals to learn more. Call us today, we’re here to help!