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Hamilton Disability Lawyers for Breast Cancer

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If you suffer from Breast Cancer and have been denied your Long-Term Disability Benefits call us today. Our Disability Lawyers serve all over Ontario.

If you Suffer from Breast Cancer and Denied your Long-term Disability Benefits call us today.  Do not accept your denial without speaking to our Disability Lawyers. Being denied long-term disability benefits is not the end of the road – do not give up hope.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer you will no doubt have many questions about your future. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is an extremely stressful time for women, marked by high anxiety, uncertainty and difficulty making decisions. The stress and fear have a very significant impact on psychological and mental health.

Although breast cancer treatment is much less invasive than in the past, regimes such as intensive radiation and chemotherapy can take a significant amount of time to conduct. Treatment can drain a woman of all of her time and energy, making it very difficult to spend time with her family, socialize, enjoy activities, continue caregiving, be a mom, wife and – return to work.

Navigating the impact of a breast cancer diagnosis is not for the faint of heart. Emotionally coping with breast cancer and adjusting to life after treatment may become and remain distressing, especially for women with poorer clinical outcomes.

Oftentimes, there could be financial devastation that accompanies a breast cancer diagnosis for women that are income earners and can no longer contribution to the shared family income or support themselves. For many, they turn to their long-term disability carriers for support – but unfortunately disability carriers often take the position that once a woman is in remission, they should return to work and not rely on their long-term disability benefits – which – premiums were paid for in exchange for protection in times of need.

If you have been denied long-term disability benefits and suffer from breast cancer you are not out of options. Contact our Hamilton breast cancer disability lawyers today at 905-333-8888 or fill in  a private contact form to discuss your individual situation and we would be more than happy to assist in giving you the proper legal advice that you need.

Quick Faqs on Retaining a Long-Term Disability Lawyer to be your Advocate

Are Long-Term Disability Consultations Free?

Absolutely. Our firm never charges disability claimants to talk. The last thing a sick or hurt person needs while they are not working is a legal bill.

Where is disability law firm based?

We are based in Hamilton, and serve disability claimants ALL OVER ONTARIO

Do your disability lawyers charge fees upfront?

We do not. Our disability law firm only gets paid, if you get paid.

Is it better to hire a local Hamilton disability law firm?

It depends – if you prefer the community relationship, the ability to access or visit the firm whenever you wish, the ability to know who is working on your file – and build a trusting relationship with that person through difficult times then hiring local is definitely better.

How do I hire a disability lawyer?

It is important that you hire a disability lawyer that you have a connection with. Ask for referrals through friends or colleagues and meet with several lawyer that specialize in disability law. Do not fall into the “mass advertising” trap. We recommend that it is 100% better to hire through referrals.

Breast Cancer in Canada – Some Shocking Statistics

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in Canada, and is the second leading cause of death for women in the country. As one of the four most common types of cancer, it can also affect men. In 2017, approximately 1% of all detected breast cancers in Canada were found in men, and 60 men died from the disease. The Canadian Cancer Society reports that, in 2017, 14 Canadian women died from breast cancer every day. Breast cancer begins in the cells of the breast, where malignant tumors can form and destroy surrounding cell tissue. If it is not detected early enough, these tumors may spread, or metastasize, to other areas of the breast, and subsequently, the rest of the body.

Breast Cancer

All cancers are classified into “stages” based on the progression of the cancer, how large the tumor is, and the degree to which the cancer has affected the body. The stages go from Stage 1, in which the tumor can be safely removed and the cancer could be prevented from spreading, to Stage 4, when the cancer has spread and treatment options are minimal. Depending on which stage your breast cancer is, this could have an impact on the outcome of your long-term disability case. Generally, your case is stronger the higher the stage is and how severe your symptoms are. It is harder to prove a claim for Stage 1 breast cancer than it is to prove a claim for Stage 4. However, it is not impossible with professional legal assistance.

Breast cancer, and other forms of cancer, are considered a disability when it comes to filing for long-term disability benefits, and cancer is among the top reasons for long-term disability claims in Canada. Undergoing cancer treatment can take up significant time and energy, resulting in lost wages and missed work for the patient. There is also the possibility of the cancer returning and preventing additional future lost wages. However, many insurance companies have made unjust denials for these benefits, causing significant frustration for the claimant.

Breast Cancer and Total Disability: What Does it Mean?

Breast cancer can surely be considered a total disability. Typically, long-term disability insurance policies categorize the definition of disability into two separate tests. The first is the” own occupation” test of total disability and the second is the “any occupation” test of total disability. What does this mean to you, if you are suffering from breast cancer?

Breast Cancer, Total Disability and your “Own Occupation”

It means that if you are unable to perform the substantial duties of your own job, no matter what you do for a living, you will be considered totally disabled from performing your own occupation as per the definition set out in your disability policy.  The “own occupation” definition of disability typically persists for 24 months.  It’s important to understand that a total disability within 24 months does not mean absolute physical inability to perform one’s own occupation, but rather from performing the substantial duties of your own occupation.

There is no doubt, and statistics show, that breast cancer is the second most frequent type of cancer in the world (second to lung cancer). While at one time, it carried a high mortality rate, the fact is that survival rates are increasing and mortality trends are decreasing. Nonetheless, while an increment in survival of women with breast cancer is on the rise, the functional, vocational and life conditions which are influenced by breast cancer symptoms often culminate into brutal functional physical deficit for survivors.

Often times, treatment and surgery, or a combination of both, can certainly impact and influence a breast cancer survivor to suffer physical, functional and emotional consequences that prevent her from performing the substantial duties of her own job.

Further, breast cancer studies have demonstrated the development of many secondary complications to treatment, such as the development of lymphedema and a reduction in the amplitude of movement of the shoulders and arms post-surgery, pain, sensitivity and an overall decrease in emotional well-being. All of this combined, often present a very high impact on the daily life of survivors, which results in severe decrease in overall functionality.

After 24 months, long-term disability policies go through what is called a “change of definition” wherein the claimant or insured person must satisfy that she is disabled from working and unable to perform the essential duties of “any occupation” for which she is suited by education training and experience.

Breast Cancer, Total Disability and “Any Occupation”

While many survivors can return to work, often times, and for the reasons above, many women cannot. Many women, continue to participate in treatment for longer than 24 months. Many experience severe side effects of radiation and chemotherapy which cause brutal fatigue, brain fog, persistent pain, fatigue, memory loss, drowsiness decrease and physical stamina.

With breast cancer victims, the decision to return to work as a personal one. You must be ready. You must feel strong. Your work should also be accommodating your disability either by modified hours and lessening your duties to a reasonable standard which you can keep up with.

Types of Debilitating Breast Cancer Treatments

Cancer is something that no one should have to deal with, and even successful treatments can make it difficult to endure. Some breast cancer treatments can debilitate you, making your day-to-day life challenging, with the potential to miss work.

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that puts powerful chemicals to work to kill fast-growing cells in your body, often from cancer. Medical teams often use chemotherapy to treat cancer, as cancer cells grow quickly and faster than most cells in the body. Some treatments use a single chemotherapy drug, while others use a combination of drugs.

Chemotherapy has a significant number of risks associated with the treatment, and it routinely causes side effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding and bleeding events

Breast cancer patients experience many other side effects. The combination of side effects can make it impossible for a person to live a normal life and work. While the side effects are worth it to overcome cancer and save a life, they can turn a breast cancer patient’s life upside-down.

An additional debilitating treatment for breast cancer is surgery. Undergoing surgery for any reason is an invasive procedure that involves the body going under anesthesia and a surgeon making incisions. Such an intrusive medical procedure requires considerable time to recover from, in addition to the use of various medications to ensure that infection does not occur and recovery happens properly.

Breast cancer can require a wide range of surgeries, from an outpatient lumpectomy to a full double mastectomy. Those who need a mastectomy might later need reconstructive breast surgery, as well. Such procedures can cause excruciating pain during recovery and can also cause psychological struggles for the patient, as losing one or two breasts can be devastating.

When recovering from a surgical operation, you might have to rest, and you certainly will not be able to work. Even though you might have a finite recovery time, you will need financial support when you cannot work and earn an income. To this end, short-term disability benefits should be available to you from your insurance company, and you should not wait to start the process of filing a benefits claim.

If you have debilitating side effects from breast cancer treatment and cannot work, you should contact a disability law firm right away. We commit our practice to representing clients in your position, and we’re ready to help.

Benefits for Terminal Breast Cancer

While going through breast cancer treatment is difficult, even more devastating is learning you have stage IV metastatic breast cancer or another potentially terminal diagnosis. In this situation, traditional therapies and treatments might not eliminate your cancer, though you may live for quite some time with management therapies.

Whether you are undergoing treatment for terminal breast cancer or are engaging in palliative care, you cannot – and should not have to – work during this difficult time. If your household relied on your income before your diagnosis, you should receive long-term disability benefits while you take care of yourself and manage your terminal cancer.

Most people think that filing a claim for breast cancer disability benefits should be simple – after all, shouldn’t the insurance company sympathize with someone in this situation? However, insurance companies can be surprisingly ruthless, and you might receive a denial of your claim if you provide insufficient information and proof of your disability. Always seek professional help so you do not waste any time dealing with difficult insurance companies.

Proving That You Cannot Work Due to Breast Cancer

Proving that you cannot work due to breast cancer treatments or effects and that you are therefore eligible to receive long-term disability benefits will vary depending on the requirements of your insurance provider. In general, proving an inability to work will involve proving the severity of your symptoms.

The way you present the evidence and documentation of your symptoms or treatment side effects to your insurance provider can influence whether or not it approves you for short or long-term disability benefits. Clearly communicating your condition and the impact it has on your ability to work, with concrete supporting medical evidence, will go far in supporting the outcome of your benefits application. This is where an experienced lawyer comes in.

We can present the necessary evidence to sufficiently prove that no one should expect you to work, which can include:

  • Detailed and comprehensive medical records
  • Expert testimony regarding your symptoms
  • Occupational evaluations

Often, insurance companies will come back and say that you failed to provide enough evidence. When this happens, we are there to respond and provide what the insurer needs. Often, insurance adjusters will make demands of claimants—no matter how sick they might be—that adjusters will not make of lawyers.

Medical and Occupational Expert Opinions

While you might state to your insurer that you cannot work and require long-term disability benefits, providing expert opinions will make it far more likely that your claim will succeed. You can present a more comprehensive case to your insurer with actual testimony and evidence from a medical professional to support your position.

Doctors can explain how your condition will affect your everyday health, what demands the treatment will require of you, and how the treatment will influence your health, focus, and well-being.

Occupational experts can translate medical opinions about your condition into how it will directly affect your ability to engage in work. Occupational experts can assess the condition and the related symptoms to assess how your condition will affect your productivity.

This information can support your case and help get your benefits approved faster. Medical and occupational expert opinions are significantly helpful pieces of evidence to support your position, and a disability attorney in your area will know many experts that can help in your claim.

Reasons You Might Receive a Disability Claim Denial

A lawyer can complete your disability application accurately and comprehensively. Applications that have errors might lead to delays, other headaches, or outright denials, which can add time to your receipt of the benefits that you need to support you during the tough times associated with your illness.

As soon as you receive a denial, you should consult with a disability lawyer if you have not already. The first thing we can do is review the reasons for your denial. Some common reasons follow.

#1. Lack of evidence

A common reason for a denial of a long-term disability claim is a lack of sufficient evidence. While you might think your application is complete, it may be missing pieces of data that the insurance company needs to approve your claim. You might not know what else you can provide to the insurer, but a disability attorney knows what you need.

#2. They claim you can work

A common reason for the denial of your long-term disability claim is that you can work, so you do not qualify for benefits. This is due to the insurance company’s assessment of the information you provide, which might not have sufficient or relevant medical and occupational expert opinions and evidence of your limitations. A disability lawyer knows what information the insurance company needs to approve your application and will help ensure the insurance adjuster receives what they need.

#3. Your disability isn’t serious enough

Whether your disability is serious enough to warrant short or long-term disability benefits will depend on the rules of the insurance company, the language of your policy, and how those rules apply to the unique facts and circumstances of your case. How you present your condition to the insurance company can influence this determination, and the right lawyer will know how to demonstrate the full severity of your condition and its effects.

When Do You Need a Disability Lawyer?

The time to reach out to a disability lawyer is as soon as you know you are facing a condition that might change your ability to work and for which you will require support. As with an injury, contact an attorney when you encounter a life-changing illness as soon as possible after you have received medical attention.

As discussed below, a disability attorney can help advise you through the initial application process to support the approval of your claim from the start of the process. If you already filed a claim and received a denial, a disability lawyer can handle your appeal and will be particularly helpful at achieving success on your second attempt to line up your benefits.

It is important to remember that insurance companies do not work for you – they work for a profit. This is true whether your disability involves a back injury or a terminal diagnosis. Insurance companies increase their profits by processing claims as quickly as possible and denying those they can get away with.

Insurance companies have teams of full-time adjusters and attorneys with years of experience in disability law, and their job is to support the company’s bottom line and increase its profitability. Having a disability lawyer on your side evens the playing field, and ensures that the attorneys of the insurance company take your claim seriously and do not issue frivolous rejections or delays.

#1. When you are filing the initial claim, they can help to ensure approval

When you initially file your claim for short or long-term disability due to breast cancer, the accuracy of your application, its completeness, and the scope and quality of evidence will determine your result. When you are going through an injury or illness that requires a disability claim, you are not likely in a position where focusing on comprehensive paperwork and collecting evidence is especially easy.

Your illness or injury may prevent you from filling out the paperwork and collecting the evidence you need to support your approval. Reaching out to a disability lawyer as soon as possible before filing your claim will provide you with the knowledge and guidance you need to submit the best possible claim.

While you might think the claim process is straightforward and providing your basic medical information regarding your diagnosis will be enough, it often is not. The insurance companies are looking for particular things to support your disability claim when considering whether to initially approve it.

An experienced Hamilton disability lawyer knows what best leads to the acceptance of a claim and also what factors the insurance company might take into account when denying your claim. If your initial claim already received a denial, you can appeal the decision, which requires moving through an additional process of data collection and submission. This is when a disability attorney once again helps tremendously.

#2. When you receive a denial, you can appeal internally – but don’t.

The denial of your initial disability claim does not mean that you absolutely cannot collect. You can file an appeal and submit additional information to support your disability claim. This may include obtaining additional medical opinions and occupational assessments so that you provide all of the necessary information that the insurance company needs to acknowledge your breast cancer-related disabilities and approve your claim. Internal appeals, in our opinion, rarely work. Read more about internal appeals vs hiring a disability lawyer here.

If you suffer from Breast Cancer and you have been Denied your Long-Term Disability Benefits, our Disability Lawyers can help.

You are not out of options just because you have been denied or cut off from your long-term disability benefits – don’t give up. Our Hamilton disability lawyers represent breast cancer claimants all over Ontario. If you’ve been denied or cut off your long-term disability, call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE (525-2633) or local in the Hamilton / Burlington / Niagara areas at 905-333-8888 or alternatively, you can fill in a contact form, and send us a confidential email with any questions you may have.

We represent breast cancer victims throughout the Golden horseshoe and the entire province of Ontario and we would be happy to discuss your case with you, at no cost, and confidentially.


LALANDE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS  – HAMILTON OFFICE
1 King Street East, Suite 1705
Hamilton, On L8P 1A4
Local: 905-333-8888
Toll Free: 1-844-LALANDE

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