Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Guillain-Barre Syndrome
The process of getting long-term disability (LTD) benefits can be confusing, tedious, and often stressful. Unfortunately, wrongful denials are all too common for those who suffer from autoimmune disorders like Guillain-Barre Syndrome (“GBS”). Coping with these types of conditions can be difficult enough without also having to fight with the insurance company, particularly if your LTD claim has been denied and you need to file an appeal for LTD benefits.
Insurance companies are powerful entities with a lot of resources and are often motivated by their own financial interests. At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick, our team of attorneys and professionals help clients access their ERISA and non-ERISA LTD benefits from insurance companies.
We can take on the burden of dealing with the insurance company for you, so that you can focus on your health and family. Contact us now at 401-331-6300 for a FREE consultation to see if we can fight for you.
Understanding Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (“GBS”) is an autoimmune disorder that causes your body’s immune system to attack your nerves. It can often begin with tingling and numbness in your extremities and quickly progress into full paralysis that affects the entire body. GBS is usually a temporary disease, but recovery times can vary from a few weeks to several years and, in some instances, individuals will continue to experience lingering symptoms.
The cause of Guillain-Barre is unknown, but it often appears shortly after a respiratory or digestive tract infection, or some other illness. Anyone can suffer from GBS, but men and older adults are at a higher risk of being affected.
Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome can vary, however, they typically start as tingling or prickling sensations in the fingers, toes, ankles, or wrists. Other symptoms include:
- Weakness in the lower body
- Difficulty with eye or facial movements including swallowing, chewing, and speaking
- Difficulty with bladder control and/or bladder function
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome can rapidly worsen so it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you have any symptoms. Symptoms will typically peak around two to four weeks after they initially appear. Often times, the symptoms will plateau and then gradually recover over an extended period of time.
Some symptoms of Guillain-Barre are similar to other nerve disorders, which can make diagnosing the disease difficult. Doctors will typically look for symmetrical symptoms on both sides of the body that are rapidly increasing in severity. This symptom pattern often distinguishes GBS from some other diseases. Spinal taps, electromyography, and nerve conduction studies may also aid in diagnosis.
Treatment for Guillain-Barre Syndrome is mostly focused on reducing symptoms and aiding recovery. Most people can walk and regain full motor control within a few months to a year after symptoms of GBS first appear. Some people experience delayed recovery and residual weakness that may prevent them from working for longer periods of time.
If you are suffering from Guillain-Barre, consider filing a claim for long-term disability benefits as you recover. While you may expect to be back at work shortly, each person’s needs for recovery are unique and it may take longer than expected to return to work.
How Can CCK Help You with Your Guillain-Barre LTD Appeal?
While you focus on recovery, the attorneys and professionals at CCK can help you navigate this process and fight to get you the benefits for Guillain-Barre to which you are entitled. CCK uses its extensive knowledge, experience, and resources to fight the insurance company for you.
Finding insurance company errors
The first thing that we do when handling an LTD appeal is evaluate your denial letter, review the insurance companies’ claim file, and come up with a strategy for the appeal. We also review the policy and other plan-governing documents, as there are many rules and regulations that the insurance company must follow. We use our extensive experience fighting various insurance companies with different policies and knowledge of ERISA to identify any errors that the insurance company made during the evaluation of your claim.
Communication with doctors during the appeal process
A major part of your LTD claim and appeal is having supportive doctors who are willing complete disability forms for the insurance company, and write reports if necessary. We often discuss with our clients the importance of accurately and effectively communicating their struggles and impairments to their treating doctors so it can be documented in the medical records. Some things to discuss are:
- Your symptoms – both the frequency and severity
- Your limitations – both at work and during your daily life
- Any side effects you may experience from your medications
- Any testing you have undergone with other physicians and what those results were
Most doctors want to help but are often busy managing their practice and treating patients. We try to help ease the burden on your doctors and help facilitate the transfer of information from the doctor to the insurance company.
Gathering evidence and writing the appeal
At CCK, we take a comprehensive approach to appeals. We gather the evidence that you would likely need if your case does end up going to court and submit it with your administrative appeal in an effort to put you in the strongest position possible. This might include items such as:
- Medical records
- Test results
- Reports from your treating doctors
- Expert opinions
- Witness statements from you, your family, friends, or co-workers
Preparing a strong and complete evidence record to file with an LTD appeal is particularly important with ERISA-governed LTD appeals because the appeal is typically the last chance for the claimant to get evidence into the record. This is because the court typically operates off of a closed evidence record; no new evidence is admitted at that point in the process. We make sure that we put together the most thorough and compelling case possible for our clients so that we have strong arguments to make at the court level if necessary.
After gathering the evidence, we write the appeal. We thoughtfully and strategically explain why our clients meet the policy’s definition of disability and other conditions for coverage. Our arguments are based on and supported by the evidence.
Call Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick Today
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