Twenty-three years ago, Callum Quinn moved to Canada from Ireland as a young man in search of work. His search led him to Sudbury, Ontario, where he secured a job as a miner. It wasn´t his dream job and it wasn´t an easy job by any means, but it paid a good salary.
Callum suffered numerous, though minor, injuries throughout his mining career, but he counted himself lucky compared to his workmates -- he had never broken a bone or been hurt in an explosion.
Callum, however, was not one to test his luck. In addition to the coverage provided through his union, he purchased a private “own occupation” policy in case illness or injury prevented him from working.
It was not until Callum reached his 50s that he began to feel the effects of years and years of toiling underground, exposed to dust, gas and chemicals. He had chest pain, difficulty breathing and felt weaker with each passing day.
Callum finally visited his doctor, who immediately ordered a chest x-ray and other tests. The tests revealed lung cancer.
As Callum prepared himself to start cancer treatment, he knew it was time to make use of his insurance coverage. He filed a claim with his group insurance and was approved.
His private insurer, on the other hand, came back with a denial and a proposition -- they were willing to immediately refund the premiums and provide one year´s worth of benefits in a lump-sum if he was willing to drop his claim and walk away.
Callum was tempted to accept the insurer´s offer because he was too intimidated to fight back, but his doctor suggested Callum speak with Share Lawyers before making such an important decision.
When Share Lawyers sat down with Callum, they helped him decide whether to take the buyout offer, totaling $48,000, or to fight for his full benefits up to age 65.
They asked Callum to consider that if he accepted the insurer´s meagre buyout and beat the lung cancer successfully, he would still not be able to continue working as a miner, and he would be left with no job, no income and no insurance benefits.
Callum´s choice became clear. Not only did he need to fight the cancer, he needed to fight the insurance company for his full benefits and give himself an opportunity for a brighter future.
The legal team at Share Lawyers took many factors intoaccount as they determined how much the insurance company owed Callum. They considered his annual salary, age and future cost of living increases up to the age of retirement.
At mediation, Share Lawyers negotiated a more favourable settlement -- totalling $260,000 -- that was more than five times the amount originally offered by the insurer. Callum´s patience and trust in Share Lawyers had paid off.
Settling with his insurer removed a huge burden off Callum´s shoulders. It was one less thing to worry about as he put all of his attention toward treating his cancer.
*Names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of our clients.