Our firm philosophy is simple: We strive to be the very best in the fields of law that impact disabled people.
Bill Allison began his law career working for a law firm that represented corporations and insurance companies. He quickly became disenchanted with that work and realized that it was not his calling
Leaving the security of the law firm was not an easy decision to make, but representing the disabled was where his heart was. In the first few years, he handled a variety of cases, but over the years narrowed his focus to disability law.
As Bill honed his skills in the discipline of disability law, he continued to narrow his focus and now only represents people with claims arising from ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). This is possible because of his association with two law firms who are among the best in the areas of Social Security disability, workers' compensation, and personal injury law.
William T. Allison, Attorney at Law, handles only ERISA cases.
Other lawyers in Fischer, Hathaway, & Manno (Timothy R. Fischer, Donald Hathaway, and Mark Manno) are experts in the fields of personal injury and workers' compensation law. The lawyers of the Disability Law Center, LLC (P. Brian Spurlock, Robert K. Moffett, John P. Pintado, W. Gary Kennan, James R. Hashek, Nora S.J. Wilson, and JackA. Quarles, Jr.), are experts in Social Security law, and do nothing else.
Our lawyers are each experts in their fields. And all this expertise is in the varying fields that serve our disabled clients, including ERISA benefits claims, Social Security benefits claims, workers' compensation claims and personal injury cases.
We leave no stone unturned in fighting for our clients
There are a lot of workers' compensation claims lawyers, but most of them have no expertise in ERiSA or Social Security. There are lots of Social Security lawyers but most of them have no expertise in ERISA or in workers' compensation. There are lots of personal injury lawyers (just watch TV for a moment; it is hard to miss their commercials), but they rarely have any expertise in ERISA, worker's compensation or Social Security law.
There are some ERISA firms around the country, but most of them have no expertise in the other areas of law that impact disabled people.
Then, there is the unfortunate fact that many lawyers who practice in these other areas occasionally handle ERISA claims. It is my belief that this explains, to a large degree, why the win/loss statistics for cases in which a judgment of the courts are entered are so dismal.
ERISA cases are different than other cases. Most of the work has to be done before suit is filed. In the usual ERISA case, once the suit is filed, the Claimant can no longer add anything to the record. Let me explain:
ERISA cases are tried by a judge sitting without a jury. The "trial" consists of the judge reviewing the insurance company's claims file. As strange as it might seem, the judge doesn't decide whether the Claimant is entitled to benefits. He only decides whether the insurance company acted in good faith. It is certainly possible for two people to have different opinions concerning just about any topic and both be in good faith.
In the typical ERISA case, the Claimant will never have his or her day in court, never get to take the witness stand and tell his or her story, never get to call witnesses and introduce evidence to support his or her claim. There is nothing that any lawyer can do about this, but experienced ERISA lawyers know how to present the case in the best light despite these obstacles.
The only thing that the judge will see is the insurance company's claims file, so it is important to ensure that the claims file contains everything that could possibly help the Claimant. Experienced ERISA lawyers have learned the way around these restrictions and even though there will never be a real trial in most ERISA cases, we do win our clients' cases by making sure that what the judge sees contains every record favorable to the clients.
Case in point: Bill Allison was consulted by an emergency room doctor who had been out on disability leave for 7 years. He had spine problems. Hartford Insurance Company hired investigators to follow him and record video of his activities. They saw him go into a gym and work out, and they videoed him playing tennis. They terminated his benefits.
We took the case. We got his treating neurosurgeon to write a letter saying that exercise was recommended for people with his spinal condition. Through research I found a list of typical duties of an emergency room physician and sent it to my client. He reviewed it and made a few changes. I then sent the list of duties and copies of my client's medical records to the head of the emergency medicine residency program at a large state medical school and obtained an opinion that these were typical duties of an emergency room physician and that my client could not do them.
I then had him get a functional capacity exam and told him to take the list of duties with him. The examiner was of the opinion that my client could no longer work as an emergency room physician. But we were still not through. I bundled all this information and sent it to my client's treating neurosurgeon and asked him for an opinion about whether my client could work as an emergency room physician. He sent us his opinion that our client was physically unable to perform the duties of that job.
Now we were ready to send all this to Hartford. Remember, if we had just filed suit, none of this good evidence would have ever been seen by the judge. As it was, Hartford came to its senses and actually reversed its decision. No suit was necessary, no trial was necessary. Our client was (and is) a happy man.
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