Surgeons are considered to be the most skilled of all medical professionals. The very nature of surgery is complex and requires that the surgeon be physically and mentally prepared for surgery every time they operate on a patient. So when a surgeon becomes disabled and needs to file a long-term disability claim, it may be surprising to find out that it’s much harder than their patients to be approved for benefits.
In this article, we will explore the following:
- Why it’s so difficult to file for disability as a surgeon;
- How to create a winning claim; and
- How you can obtain a professional evaluation of your disability insurance policy.
Why Is It Challenging For a Surgeon to File LTD?
The salary of a surgeon is in the top three of salaries for medical professionals according to the latest CNBC report on top paying jobs in America. With the average salary of $251,890, surgeons are compensated for the high level of skill it requires to do their job. Although it is well-known that a surgeon needs to be in peak physical and mental condition to do their job, if a surgeon becomes disabled and files a long term disability claim, they will have a much harder time getting approved.
Why? Because the insurance company is looking at their case from a financial standpoint. They look at how much money it will cost them to provide a surgeon with benefits throughout the illness or disability. The longer it could potentially take the surgeon to get back to work, the more scrutiny the surgeon will face when they are in the claims process.
Tips for a Successful Claim
Tip #1 Gather Strong Medical Evidence
Unlike family doctors, surgeons are usually unfamiliar with the medical paperwork needed to file for long term disability. Collect all the medical evidence from your doctors that are treating your disability. Be sure that your doctors are noting your pain levels on your chart, this is not always common practice, but you will need this for your claim.
Surgeons have stressful workloads that keep them on their feet for hours at a time and usually spend a good amount of time working out each week to stay healthy. During the recovery period from their disability, this may not be an option. The excessive amount of rest needed to recover can be overwhelming and cause depression. When seeking treatment for depression, be sure to include those medical records as well.
Tip #2 Anticipate Surveillance
A large claim, like that of a surgeon, will be under surveillance. Surveillance is completely legal. During the surveillance period, an investigator will stake out the claimant’s house, talk to nearby neighbors about daily activities and try to use that information against the claimant in court. This is why it is crucial to not rush back into exercise routines or anything else that is very strenuous on the body during the claim period.
Tip #3 Stay Off Social Media
In our article about social media and long term disability claims, we discuss the likelihood that social media accounts will be monitored. As a surgeon, you probably do not have time for social media. However, when you are at home with nothing to do but rest, you may be tempted to start an account. We suggest staying off social media entirely during the claim period. The insurance investigator will try to use social media accounts to deny your claim.
Tip #4 Do Not Try to Go Back to Work Too Fast
The amount of time spent recovering from a disability can be very dull and feel unproductive to a surgeon. The change from a very active schedule to weeks and months of rest can feel like a prison sentence. Surgeons must resist the urge to go back to work too early. When a surgeon pushes themselves back into work before their body is ready physically and mentally, they are in danger of making a mistake that could cause more harm to their patients and land them in court.
Request a Free Policy Evaluation
If you are considering purchasing a disability insurance policy or have recently purchased a policy, we will help you understand what you are entitled to and whether there are deficiencies in your coverage that could lead to a denied claim. It is easy for individual policyholders who are not trained to read insurance policies to misread or misunderstand the disability policy. As part of our evaluation, we will explain what everything means to you in your situation.
Some of the aspects of your policy we will review include:
- Total versus residual disability;
- Own occupation versus any gainful occupation;
- Mental and nervous disability benefit limitations; and
- Self-reported conditions benefit limitations.
Fill out the form below to submit your request, and please allow 5 business days to receive your free Policy Evaluation Report.
Representation by An Experienced Long Term Disability Attorney
Surgeons will find it challenging to get a long term disability claim approved due to the substantial cost. The insurance company will try to find any reason to deny the claim. By providing strong medical evidence, keeping a low profile, and not rushing back to work too soon, a surgeon can create a solid case for disability.
Using an experienced disability attorney will help you protect yourself against insurance investigators. The Ortiz Law Firm is based in Florida but represents claimants across the country. Receive a free consultation by calling (888) 321-8131 with no obligation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Long-Term Disability Benefits and how to move forward with the process.