Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Long-Term Disability
by Tim Louis
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is considered by some to be an orphan illness. This is because there is no cure for the disease and because there is no accepted medical test to diagnose it. In fact, many doctors do not recognize it. However, for the individuals suffering this debilitating condition, it is very real. Even what they call it is in dispute. Most patients prefer “myalgic encephalomyelitis,” or ME. However, the medical literature uses “chronic fatigue”.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is profoundly disabling. It renders individuals unable to get out of bed for days at a time. Sleep is no longer ever refreshing. It also strikes very quickly – one day the individual is healthy, and the next day the individual wakes up with the sensation of a bad flu. However, the “flu” never goes away. In some cases, it is so disabling as to paralyze a limb or even cause temporary blindness.
It is not unusual for individuals to believe they are going crazy when they first get Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Figures for Canada are not available, but it is thought that CFS afflicts between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans.
For many years, a number of doctors believed the disease was all in the patient’s head.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Denied Long-Term Disability Benefits?
I have represented many individuals suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When denied the Long Term Disability Benefits they are entitled to, they hire me to sue their insurance company. One thing I noticed is that “good days” were always followed by “bad days”. In fact, because the “good day” was a gift from heaven, my client would do everything she or he wanted to do on that day. The sad result is that they would then be much much worse the following day. The trick was to always limit their activities on “good days” to half of what they felt they could do. This would result in a much better day the following day.
Long-Term Disability Benefits for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Denied?
Long Term Disability insurance companies typically reject applications from CFS patients because the patient is unable to objectively prove the presence of the condition. I address this problem head on. I rely on witnesses who give evidence as to my client’s day to day activities. If my client has witnesses that confirm an inability to get out of bed for days on end and an inability to carry on a normal life, then my client’s lawsuit is much stronger.
I also warn all of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome long-term disability clients that their insurance company will almost certainly hire a private investigator to capture them on video on a “good day”. Insurance companies think this will be devastating at trial. However, as I mentioned above, witnesses who give evidence that my client simply has good days and bad days, will usually outweigh the video evidence.
I have encountered this many times, representing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome long-term disability clients. In one case, one year into the lawsuit, the insurance company hired an actress to knock on my client’s door. When he opened the door, she told him that her car has stalled in front of his house. He willingly agreed to her request that he push her car out of the way. Unbeknownst to my client, all of this was captured on video by the private investigator. Fortunately my client’s landlord was an RCMP officer who was witness to the fact that my client literally spent days on end in bed. The case settled out of court with the insurance company paying my client over $300,000.
If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and your Long-Term Disability insurance company has denied you the benefits you are entitled to, call me for a free initial consultation. I have been suing Long Term Disability insurance companies for over three decades.
Learn More about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome