On June 9, 2014, a lawsuit filed in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court against Travelers insurance and its Third Party Administrators alleging delay and denial of medically necessary care for Joanne Hebert has reached a confidential settlement. The lawsuit alleged the defendants conspired with medical providers in an attempt to deny that a workplace accident resulted in permanent injuries for the plaintiff.
Theodore J. Leopold, a Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, along with Diana L. Martin, represented Joanne Hebert in her denial of care lawsuit against Travelers and its affiliates. Leopold has represented plaintiffs across the nation who suffered egregious harm and permanent catastrophic injuries as a result of managed care corporations abuse, including the denial of medically necessary treatment.
“Joanne Hebert had a right to receive a reasonable and timely standard of medical care that was provided to her under her benefits,” stated Leopold. “Delaying her claim deprived her of access to healthcare; an endemic that injured workers across our state and country are suffering daily. We are proud to have represented and advocated for Joanne in her fight against an abusive managed care company. She suffered a grave injustice and yet she stood up and fought not only for herself but for the rights of all workers in Florida.”
On February 18, 2012, 70 year old Joanne Hebert, injured her back lifting a heavy box while working as a sales agent for AAA Auto Club South, Inc. She filed a worker’s compensation claim with Travelers Insurance, the servicing agent for her employer. An x-ray and subsequent MRI of her spine revealed that she had suffered a compression fracture with a 60% loss in height as a result of the workplace injury. Despite recommendations from an orthopedic surgeon advising that the fracture may continue to compress without treatment such as bracing and/or a kyphoplasty, the defendants sought to stonewall Hebert’s access to treatment. The lawsuit alleged that even after the insurers chosen surgeon validated her injuries, the company failed to authorize the medically necessary care by displacing blame, claiming her condition was caused by osteoporosis.
The insurance company and its Third Party Administrators denied liability and Joanne Hebert’s condition further deteriorated. Her orthopedic surgeon warned she was suffering from a cascading severe compression deformity, which could be prevented by early intervention. As time passed, her injuries were exacerbated to the point where the prescribed path of treatment was no longer an option, and the remaining recourse was a major surgical procedure that would be require her spine to be broken and repositioned. Her doctor contended that such a procedure was extremely risky at her age, and as a result, Joanne Hebert will suffer from a hunch back, totally disabled and in a constant state of pain.