NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED. CHICAGO STRONG. LIFE INSURANCE AND ACCIDENTAL DEATH LAWYERS
Bartolic Law handles Life Insurance and Accidental Death Insurance disputes on behalf of beneficiaries whose claims were denied, and the insureds whose coverage is being terminated. We help those with individual policies, as well as those with group insurance policies governed by ERISA § 502. Bartolic Law has helped many clients secure payment of the life insurance benefits, demonstrate a death was an accidental death triggering increased payment, and maintain life insurance coverage when the insurer tries to terminate or rescind coverage. We have helped clients recover policy benefits in all kinds of circumstances, some of which include:
Voluntary Drug Ingestion with Accidental Overdose
Auto Accidents with Alcohol and Drugs Involved
Disputes Over Whether an Illness or Injury Caused the Death
Disputed Coverage While the Insured Was Disabled
Disputes Over Accidental Means vs. Accidental Results
Disputed Spousal Accidental Insurance
Unintentional Drug Ingestion
Bacterial Infection Accidental Death
Misrepresentation of How to Maintain Coverage Just Before Death
Disputes over whether a waiver of premium covers Accidental Death Coverage
Disputed Accelerated Death Benefits Due to Terminal Illness
ACCIDENTAL DEATH INSURANCE DISPUTES
Bartolic Law has helped many clients whose loved ones passed from accidents recover accidental death insurance proceeds when insurers denied their claims. Accidental death insurance claims get denied frequently because there is a greater factual element to them than ordinary life insurance claims. Accidental death requires the death to occur in a defined way, and the policies contain numerous exclusions. Insurers commonly contend the death was not truly an accident, that the accident was not the sole cause of the death, or that a substance ingestion exclusion applies. Due to the amounts of money involved, and the limited amount of time to challenge the decision, insurance companies often take questionable positions, or rely on information that is unreliable.
Michael has demonstrated that toxicology reports based on post-mortem heart blood samples overstate the amount of various substances in a decedent’s system before death due to post-mortem redistribution, and the body’s ability to fermentate blood sugar into alcohol after death.
Michael once convinced an insurer a cocaine overdose was not intentional by taking pictures of the decedent’s clothes laid out for work the next morning, lunch packed in the refrigerator, and alarm clock set. Michael does what it takes to get the best evidence possible.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life INS. CO.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Bartolic Law helped a grieving widow fully recover accidental death insurance proceeds when her husband passed from a Fentanyl overdose. And we accomplished it discreetly, without any need for litigation or public record of what happened. The insurer was particularly hostile because the decedent had a criminal record from decades ago. Through our investigation, we discovered the decedent visited someone’s home at the time of the overdose. There was no evidence of any drug administration by needle or transdermally in the autopsy report. We interviewed the medical examiner who stated his examination would have documented any recent needle punctures or transdermal patch skin marks. The police report documented someone in the house heard the decedent say he had a headache hours before death, and we found an Aspirin bottle near the decedent’s location. We were able to get the person living there to acknowledge possessing Fentanyl tablets kept in the Aspirin bottle, and we showed how similar Fentanyl tablets look to Aspirin. The insurer concluded it did not have enough evidence to challenge the death was accidental, and paid our client in full, helping her financially manage with her husband gone.
Bartolic Law helped a client recover on 3 separate insurance policies insuring his father, who had stage 4 cancer and suffered a fall, resulting in a cracked rib puncturing his lung. Because the insured was so near death due to illness, the insurers fought the claim. Despite a history of falling down, we demonstrated the fall happened when the insured stepped out of bed to use his bedside commode. Medical professionals came to the scene and concluded it was a fall just like prior ones. But this time, there was an unrealized cracked rib, and the insured died by the next morning. Three insurers fought the claim, contending his sickness contributed to the death, and that falling down was expected. Bartolic Law got all 3 accidental death insurance policies to pay in full discreetly with no litigation or public record necessary.
The Life Insurance case that catapulted Michael Bartolic to the premier life insurance lawyer to hire was one where the life insurance company tried terminating coverage of a woman who stopped working at her employer due to stage 4 pancreatic cancer. When she and her beneficiary called the insurer to ask how they could maintain the coverage after employment termination, the insurer told her to apply for a waiver of premium, knowing the deadline to do so had already passed, but did not tell her she could still automatically convert to an individual policy. When she applied for the waiver, the insurer denied the request as untimely, and by the time it notified her, she passed away and the insurer refused to pay the policy proceeds to the beneficiary. We were able to help the beneficiary recover due to the insurer misleading the insurer and beneficiary.
LIFE INSURANCE DENIALS
Bartolic Law is the leader in Life Insurance disputes. Where Accidental Death claims involve more factual disputes, insurance companies often attempt to deny Life Insurance claims on the basis of obscure exclusions, or attempting to rescind coverage for a misstatement in the application. Insurers have a limited amount of time to rescind coverage due to any inaccuracies in the application, unless due to intentional misrepresentation. If the death occurs within 2 years of obtaining coverage, the insurer searches for any medical condition that was not disclosed. Bartolic Law helped a client receive payment on a life insurance claim where the insurer challenged payment of a $1 million dollar claim, asserting evidence in health records caused a rescission of coverage. We were able to demonstrate the insurer knew of every medical condition and treatment, and could not evade payment to the client.
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