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Liberty Mutual Ignored Plaintiff’s Fibromyalgia: Lawsuit

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Miami, FLIt could be argued that it’s somewhat unfair to paint an individual insurance company as a villain without acknowledging the role other insurance companies play in creating a less-than savory reputation for an industry known for denying legitimate claims. Be that as it may, Liberty Mutual has its share of Liberty Mutual wrongly denied disability claims.

To that end, the American Association for Justice (AAJ), in July 2008, ranked Liberty Mutual at No. 10 in its list of the top worst insurance companies. “The rankings show a distinct pattern of insurance industry greed amongst 10 companies that refuse to pay just claims, employ hardball tactics against policyholders, reward executives with extravagant salaries, and raise premiums while hoarding excessive profits,” the AAJ report said.

In Liberty Mutual’s case, according to the AAJ report, the insurer hired consulting giant McKinsey & Co. to “boost its bottom line” through a strategy of lowering amounts paid in claims whether the claims were valid, or not.

One example of a Liberty Mutual long term denied disability lawsuit is an action filed by a plaintiff from South Florida suffering from Fibromyalgia Syndrome, a very real affliction that continues to be maligned in some health circles but for the victim, symptoms are nonetheless painful and debilitating. The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, claimed that the plaintiff suffered from unrelenting pain in her arms, legs, wrists, neck, shoulders and feet. Additionally, the plaintiff suffered from severe fatigue and cognitive impairment.

As a result of her suffering, the plaintiff was unable to perform the functions of her job as a Benefits Coordinator with Bridgestone Americas Inc., which involved eight hours daily perched behind a desk and a computer screen.

Prior to making a claim with Liberty Mutual, the plaintiff was subjected to a functional capacity examination which revealed that she was only able to sit, or stand for a maximum of two, to four hours within an eight-hour day. A neuropsychological examination further revealed that the plaintiff was impaired in her high order thinking which was likely due to her fibromyalgia syndrome. Her treating physicians all concurred that the plaintiff was, indeed disabled and unable to work due to severe pain, fatigue and cognitive impairment.

And yet, it was alleged in the Liberty Mutual long term disability lawsuit, the defendant was little help. It was alleged the defendant ignored the various expert examinations undertaken to qualify the plaintiff as disabled, and instead hired a physician to examine the plaintiff’s medical records. The physician is reported to have concluded that the plaintiff could not only indeed work a full 40-hour week but that doing so would actually benefit her condition.

The opinion was made from reviewing records, but at no time was the plaintiff examined by a Liberty Mutual physician, or so the lawsuit alleged.

The patient sued the defendant, identified as Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston (Liberty Mutual), for failure to pay long term disability benefits as required under the terms of the policy, and in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) as amended, 1974.

Case information for the Liberty Mutual wrongly denied disability claims lawsuit was not available.

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READER COMMENTS

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I had the same identical claim with Liberty Mutual as I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia! Liberty hired a doctor to examine me after all my doctors agreed that I was disabled. I was never awarded benefits! This was in 1995! Do I have a case? Or statutue of limitations expired?

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