“Even If nothing comes of this [filing an Unum complaint with LawyersandSettlements], it would be nice to have my story available for others,” says Jake. “Why wasn’t Unum fair and pay benefits that were rightly owed me? And how can they take a doctor’s word - who never saw me - over the doctors at the VA who knew me?”
After his time in the military, Jake became a cardiac perfusionist. He was a key member of a cardiac surgical team, providing life support to patients undergoing heart surgery. But an ongoing back problem that occurred during his stint with the military got so severe that he was unable to perform his job.
“I had my Unum policy with the hospital for more than seven years, and they knew about my back problem right away,” Jake explains. “It was rated on a percentage basis, but now my back problem is so severe that I am housebound.”
The VA believed Jake, and his occupational specialists, after several hours of evaluations, confirmed that he was completely disabled. But Unum didn’t. “Unum investigators came to my house and they knew I was going for bicycle rides - when I leaned on the handlebars it took the pressure off my back so I was able to pedal,” says Jake. “Apparently that was a problem.”
Another time, Jake’s Unum representative told him that he was entitled to some kind of vocational rehabilitation. “Sign me up; this was great because I wanted to write,” Jake says. “But they dismissed me and I didn’t hear anything more about this program. I think they disregarded training as some kind of writer because I wouldn’t earn enough money.”
Jake was denied disability insurance soon after Unum’s Independent Medical Examiner deemed him able to return to work. This doctor resides in Georgia, and Jake lives in Virginia. They never met. So Jake found a lawyer recommended to him and willing to take his case. Unfortunately, Jake didn’t check the lawyer’s credentials.
“I had no idea how the appeals process worked but this attorney got me an offer from Unum for $60,000,” Jake explains. “He said that I shouldn’t take it because we could win the case, if I paid him $20,000. I didn’t know the chances were so slim of winning in the Court of Appeals. My lawyer was greedy, period.”
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“Looking back, it was all a joke, and the joke was on me.”Fortunately he did receive back pay from the VA but those monies went directly to his legal fees. Jake checked into his lawyer’s credentials - after the fact.
“I did a background check and it turns out that my attorney had actually lost his license,” Jake adds. “He was a recovering crack addict but I don’t think he ever did recover because he was always calling me for more money. Please let my story be a warning: check an attorney’s background before you hire them. And if their license has ever been suspended, that should be warning enough.”