Subjective Evidence and Long-term Disabilities
Your Feelings and Pain Are Important for Your Group Long-Term Disability Claim
A long-term disability (LTD) from an accident or illness can completely disrupt your life and reak financial havok on you and your loved ones. The symptoms of LTD vary widely, and can produce a host of restrictions and limitations. Hopefully, if you incur an LTD, you or your employer will have purchased disability insurance. If so, you can file an individual or group disability claim to collect monthly compensation and mitigate the financial impacts of not working.
Filing an individual or group disability claim is often just the first step to recover compensation. Insurance companies find ways to deny group LTD claims and pay claimants as little as possible. One way insurance companies do so is to deny that a claimant has actually suffered an injury or illness, or that the extent of your injury or illness is much smaller and less impactful than you claim.
Policyholders pay premiums and if they incur an LTD, should expect their group LTD insurance to protect them. Unfortunately, you may need to a fight to recover LTD compensation, especially if subjective evidence supports your claim, as is often the case. Read on to learn more about subjective evidence and how it factors into LTD claims.
What is Subjective Evidence?
One way insurance companies try denying individual and group disability claims is by simply not believing claimants’ pain, distress or subjective complaints. In many types of long-term disabilities, it can be difficult to examine or evaluate all of the symptoms an LTD victim experiences. Such symptoms fall into the category of subjective evidence. For example, you can tell your doctor that you feel chronic pain, but it is often hard for the doctor to verify whether that is actually true.
Many group LTD insurers, including Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-governed plans, like to disregard subjective evidence when evaluating claims. Plan administrators often deem claims of chronic pain, stress, fatigue, and ongoing symptoms as concocted. For those who suffer from these conditions symptoms can render a person incapable of performing the important duties of their occupation.
When filing your group LTD claim, hire an experienced disability lawyer to provide as much evidence as possible to support your claim, including any subjective evidence. Your feelings, thoughts, impression and pain matter to your benefit eligibility, even if an insurance company might at first be dismissive of them. A long-term individual disability or ERISA lawyer can help objectify your feelings and pain to establish your LTD insurance eligibility. Your lawyer will gather and frame the evidence in a way that will strengthen your LTD claim, and increase the amount of compensation you can recover and how quick you will be paid.
Types of Disabilities Where Subjective Evidence Is Important
Subjective evidence is difficult to quantify. The level of pain two people may experience from the same injury or disease may vary greatly. The fact that you experience greater pain should not diminish your ability to recover. Furthermore, many people who suffer from LTD pain show no physical signs.
Subjective complaints of suffering and whether an individual can work and earn a living are often difficult. This is precisely why illustrating subjective evidence in as many ways as possible is so important for claiming group LTD coverage for certain conditions.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is difficult to diagnose because there is no single blood or objective test available and many symptoms are like other illnesses. People who suffer from ME/CFS often have symptoms that come and go randomly. The best way to determine if you have ME/CFS is to speak with your doctor and provide as much detail about your pain and suffering as possible.
Symptoms of ME/CFS may include:
- Extreme and sudden fatigue
- Sleep problems
- Memory loss
- Worse conditions when standing
Fibromyalgia is another illness that can present difficulty diagnosing.
The most common symptoms people face include:
- Muscle pain
- Muscle twitching or tightness
- Severe pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Depression and anxiety
To diagnose fibromyalgia, your doctor will ask you detailed questions to rule out other illnesses. Many of your answers will be subjective, making fibromyalgia difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to prove when you file your group LTD claim.
Anyone who suffers from migraines knows how debilitating they can be. Migraines cause throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head with debilitating consequences. Migraines can come and go suddenly. Migraines affect people differently. Some might suffer a migraine a few times per year, while others have them weekly. Unfortunately, there is no objective test to determine if you currently suffer from a migraine, your detailed statements to a health professional about the frequency, intensity and severity of your pain are important to get the group LTD compensation you need.
Today, everyone is aware of the global COVID-19 pandemic. While there is still much to learn about this illness and the long-term effects on people who get sick, there are currently some people who seem to never fully recover. These people are called COVID long haulers.
These unfortunate COVID-19 victims suffer ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 that show no sign of going away. While the persistent symptoms may vary, some long haulers never fully regain their sense of smell. Others have constant headaches, cough, severe fatigue, and shortness of breath. The fatigue that many long haulers suffer is often described as debilitating, rendering them unable to fully function let alone work in their occupation.
These LTD examples show some similarities in symptoms that prevent the insured from performing their occupation. The most common reason is that they are simply too fatigued to function normally or as they used to work. These subjective complaints can be objectified with pain diaries, proper medical specialist that document frequency, intensity and severity of the symptoms along with the corresponding work restrictions physically and mentally.
Speak With a Long-Term Disability Lawyer Today
Partnering with an experienced individual or group disability lawyer can give you a serious leg up in facing insurance companies in your LTD claim. Your attorney can help guide you through the complex process of filing a LTD claim. Your lawyer will also gather and frame the evidence, including subjective evidence, about how you feel and your levels of pain. With a trusted lawyer at your side, you will increase your chances of filing a successful LTD claim and recovering the disability benefits you deserve.