Here's another case in which we see insurance companies behaving badly. Patricia Galvin, a Tax Attorney from Northern California was rear ended by a speeder and suffered back injuries that would lead to chronic debilitating back pain. Every doctor seen by Ms. Galvin concluded that she could not work due to the pain.

    The only doctor to say she could work was UNUM's own Dr. Stephen Jacobson who claimed that Ms. Galvin's pain was subjective and that there was no objective medical evidence that the pain was at the level she described. UNUM also claimed that the cause of Galvin's inability to work was not her injuries from the accident but from depression exacerbated by a hostile working environment (which was created by her inability to function after her injuries).

    So UNUM is claiming that her inability to work is caused by her hostile working environment. Ignoring the fact that the hostile working environment was created by her attempts to remain working despite her disability. Another catch-22 crafted by the insurance company to deny a legitimate claim. This time the court agreed with the plaintiff but California is a generous state when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and it certainly isn't the case that a similar result could be expected in similar circumstances elsewhere.

Read more on the complete opinion and more on Galvin v. UNUM and ERISA cases here.
Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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