Long Term Disability Mistake 8

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Mistake 8 – Restrictions and Limitations – Lifting and Carrying, Bending and Twisting | Clearwater Long Term Disability Lawyer

It is important to prepare for your long-term disability statement or field visit by the long-term disability claims adjuster so you can get your long term disability/ERISA benefits.

Long term disability insurance companies like to ask broad, open ended questions which are hard to answer accurately, but which are traps for the unwary long-term disability claimant.

The questions you will be asked will include:

1. How much are you able to lift and carry?

2. Provide an example of something that you can carry it without being uncomfortable?

3. Have you lifted more than 10 pounds?

Why are you being asked these questions? If the long-term disability insurance company can shows that you can do a sedentary job, which requires less than 10 pounds lifting, they will take the position you are not disabled.

Please note that these questions don’t address how much you can lift without having symptoms, how much you can lift repetitively, how much you can with repetitively without becoming uncomfortable, and don’t take into consideration real-life lifting situations at the workplace.

Your answers will be compared against the surveillance film. If they catch you lifting more than what you said, they will play “gotcha!”

Your answers will be given to your doctor. The long-term disability carrier will say to your doctor, “She completed a statement that says she can lift and carry a maximum of 15 pounds.  Doctor, would you agree that she could work at a sit down job where she only had to lift 5 pounds?” What do you think your doctor is going to say?

I am sure that your lifting and carrying ability depends on the size of the object, its weight, whether you’re lifting it off the table, lifting from the floor, how many times you have to lift it, whether you have to bend and lift, twist and lift, or squat and lift.

You will be asked about your ability to bend and twist:

1. Can you bend at the waist to pick something up off the floor?

2. When you bend or flex toward the floor, what symptoms do you experience?

Most everyone has the ability to bend at the waist. Even my clients who have those kinds of problems would bend over to pick up a crying child regardless of how much pain they have. Isn’t that a dumb question?

You will be asked about your ability to twist:

1. Can you twist at the waist?

2. Can you twist to the right or left?

3. Can you twist or turn your head to the left or right?

4. What symptoms do you experience when you twist?

Of course, you can twist but you probably have limitations. Of course, the question is phrased in a way that you have to give an absolute black-and-white answer. Don’t fall for that trap! Don’t answer any question in absolute terms. Use ranges and estimates and make it clear that’s what you’re doing as you answer these questions. Never say that you can never do any physical activity. You’re setting yourself up if you do so.

Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.

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