Disability insurance companies often reject valid claims because they lack objective proof of disability. This is usually stated in a couple of ways – either it says that symptoms are “self-reported” or “subjective in nature.” The basic message, however, couched is that the insurance company will not accept your claim for acute pain or weariness because you cannot verify it objectively. A severe migraine headache, intense lower back pain, or severe tiredness are not visible on an x-ray, MRI, ECG, or another diagnostic test. There is no “pain-sensor” or “fatigue-test” that can confirm or deny whether or not you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Is it true that if you can’t prove you’re suffering from pain or exhaustion, it doesn’t exist? Unfortunately, millions of people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and pain syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, and other debilitating disorders can testify that these “subjective” conditions are authentic and profoundly damaging.
Most Doctors see these limitations as legitimate medical ailments. Some specialists think they are physical (e.g., muscular or tissue diseases), while others believe they are psychological. However, the experts are all in agreement that emotional disorders exist. Many notable physicians specialize in the conditions listed above, and there are many pharmaceutical firms actively investigating therapeutic options. Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are considered genuine medical illnesses by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)From a legal standpoint, courts throughout Canada have recognized that “subjective” infirmities may preclude someone from working. For example, in Deyonge v. Liberty Mutual, an Ontario court found that a marketing representative was incapacitated by fibromyalgia in 2003.
The physical and mental abilities to work are analyzed holistically. Courts across Canada have recognized that emotional infirmities may preclude someone from working. For example, in Deyonge v. Liberty Mutual, an Ontario court found that the plaintiff’s degenerative disc disease and diabetes could interfere with his ability to work as a truck driver.
The Appellate Court of Alberta evaluated whether a person’s irritable bowel condition rendered them completely incapacitated despite a lack of objective medical proof in Materi v. Confederation Life in 2001. The court decided that requiring objective evidence to show such a condition was incorrect.
Because the medical community recognizes the existence and validity of “subjective” disabilities, and Canadian courts recognize that such conditions can be highly disabling, an insurance company denying a disability claim solely based on a lack of objective evidence is both incorrect and unreasonable.
Contact me for a free consultation about your legal options if your disability claim was refused due to a lack of objective proof. A court of law may severely oppose the insurance company’s viewpoint.