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Risk of Relapse versus Relapse Anxiety: When Can You Get Individual or Group Long-Term Disability Benefits After A Heart Attack?

Heart Disease Disability Attorney

Helping Our Clients With Heart Disease and Claim Issues

Heart failure, whether due to coronary artery disease, mitral valve prolapse, or a congenital heart defect, may leave your heart weaker than before. A heart attack typically blocks the heart’s blood supply, resulting in heart damage. The longer a heart attack blocks your heart’s blood supply, the more serious the damage to your heart. This will cause scar tissue to form, and because the heart is weaker after an attack, it may pump less blood throughout your body. Your recovery time after heart failure depends on multiple factors, including your overall health, age, underlying condition, and the nature of the attack.

Whether you were able to reverse your heart disease with diet/exercise, suffered a heart attack, or underwent a heart transplant, one of the lasting symptoms is the anxiety associated with your condition. While some patients can make life changes that greatly reduce their risk of suffering additional heart attacks, some cardiac disabilities are unrelated to your lifestyle. Marfan Syndrome, for example, is a genetic disorder that causes your arteries to weaken and may result in a fatal aortic aneurysm.

Many individual and group long-term disability insurers try to minimize the emotional stress associated with heart disease. Sometimes, however, your cardiac disability is so severe that simple activities of daily living such as showering, driving, walking, and going to work can increase your risk of relapse. In these cases, you may actually have a disability because your risk of suffering another heart attack is so high.

If you fall into this category, you may face a bad-faith delay, denial, or termination of individual or group long-term disability insurance benefits because many disability insurers don’t understand your condition—or they just want to save money by not paying your valid individual or group long-term disability claim. However, the experienced cardiac disability lawyers and nationally top-rated group ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw can help you understand your legal right to individual or group long-term disability benefits. To schedule your free disability policy analysis or free claim consultation, call us today at 800-898-7299 or contact us online.

Heart Attack Symptoms and Anxiety

Some patients actually begin experiencing symptoms of an impending heart attack more than a month before it takes place. These symptoms can include:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Pain in arms and legs
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

If a cardiologist catches your condition before you have a heart attack, an angioplasty or related minimally invasive surgery can prevent the worst of the damage. A major heart attack, however—during which your brain and heart lose oxygen and blood—may prevent you from working for months or years.

You may require more than a few months, for example, to recover from coronary bypass surgery because it’s an open-heart procedure that involves a transfer of blood vessels from your arms or legs to your heart. It’s sometimes done as an emergency surgery during a massive heart attack, and it can leave you unprepared and traumatized. Furthermore, you may experience the following symptoms and complications after open-heart surgery that may increase your recovery time:

  • Memory loss
  • Bleeding
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Stroke
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Serious infection of the chest wound requiring debridement surgery
  • Another heart attack soon after surgery

Patients with heart disease may naturally experience extreme anxiety about having additional heart attacks. However, the measure of whether your individual or group long-term disability policy considers you disabled is whether you really “only” suffer from anxiety or you have a real, medically justifiable clinical risk of relapse.

Claiming Individual or Group Long-Term Disability Benefits for Anxiety

Certain illnesses, such as chronic fatigue, migraines, fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety, are called self-reported disabilities. These conditions are difficult to diagnose clinically, and any diagnosis depends on the history reported by the patient, the severity of the symptoms and level of pain the patient reports.

If you suffer from a severe anxiety disorder that keeps you out of work, you may qualify for individual or group long-term disability benefits. Your individual or group disability insurance company may fight to wrongfully delay, deny, or terminate your self-reported mental nervous benefits. If you obtain those benefits, your individual or group long-term disability insurance policy will typically cap them—for instance, at 24 months.

Long-Term Individual or Group Disability Benefits and Risk of Cardiac Relapse

Because the heart is an essential organ and one attack can increase your chance of another, your cardiologist may report that you have a high medical “risk of relapse.” This might constitute an injury or illness in itself, according to the terms and limitations of your long-term individual or group disability insurance policy. For example, your cardiologist may diagnose your heart as too weak for you to work, or not clear you to work because of the high risk of a blood clot.

You may also have a genetic condition such as a congenital heart defect or Marfan syndrome, which may exponentially increase your chances of suffering an aneurysm or another attack. Many heart transplant patients also have a high risk of heart failure, heart disease and organ rejection along with significant medication side effects. In such cases, you must make a claim for individual or group long-term disability benefits not based on your anxiety, but rather the underlying condition that causes your abnormally high risk of relapse.

Because low-stress levels are associated with heart health, your cardiologist may tell you that you’re unable to work due to your underlying condition or your overall heart health.

Individual and group long-term disability insurance companies don’t like these “soft,” hard to prove claims. Their often improperly credentialed “independent medical examination” doctors will try to spin a valid claim of cardiac relapse based on an underlying condition into a claim for “relapse anxiety,” which are not the same under the provisions and limitations of your individual or group disability insurance policy. While you may fear a relapse, a clinically diagnosable risk of the same may render that fear legitimate but it takes the right documentation and treating physician support.

Contact the Award-Winning Long-Term Individual and Nationally Recognized Group ERISA Cardiac Disability Attorneys at DarrasLaw Today

Relapse disability insurance law is extremely complex, especially when it comes to heart disease. Don’t make a fatal cardiac disability claim mistake. With the help of America’s top-rated individual and group ERISA long-term disability attorneys at DarrasLaw, your claim documentation and claim submissions can be perfected. We know the tricks your individual or group long-term disability insurer will play to wrongfully delay, deny, or terminate your valid disability claim. To schedule your free cardiac disability policy analysis or free claim consultation, call DarrasLaw today at 800-898-7299 or contact us online.

DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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