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March 2016 Archives

Jury Verdict for $7.6 Million to Chiropractor for Denial of Disability Insurance Benefits Upheld by Court of Appeals

Chiropractic Physician, Joan Hangarter, owned her own chiropractic practice in Berkeley, California and during a typical day she would treat between 30 and 50 patients. In 1989, Dr. Hangarter purchased an "own occupation" disability insurance policy from Paul Revere. Unfortunately, in 1993, Dr. Hangarter began to experience severe recurrent shoulder pain, which progressed to ongoing severe pain in her shoulder, arm and neck that interfered with her ability to treat patients as a chiropractor. Although Dr. Hangarter underwent significant treatment, her condition did not improve. After imaging was performed, she was diagnosed with epicondylitis, cervical intervertebral disk syndrome, and tendinitis. Though Dr. Hangarter's orthopedist offered surgery to correct the problem, Dr. Hangarter declined given her past negative experience with post-surgery pain medication. Dr. Hangarter did continue with chiropractic treatments which gave some pain relief. Dr. Hangarter's doctors advised and testified that she could not maintain a normal, continuous chiropractic occupation in light of her medical conditions.

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