The Story Alignment Method ™ is Resolute Legal’s proprietary system for managing disability claims and appeals. It is the five-step process we use to persuade the insurance company, judge, or other decision-maker to approve your claim.
Resolute Legal’s founder, David Brannen, developed and refined The Story Alignment Method ™ over twenty years. It started when David was 10 years old and saw his grandfather lose an impossible-to-lose lawsuit against a multi-million dollar corporation. His grandfather was an unsophisticated fisherman who was taken advantage of by those who knew how to work the system.
It was that moment that David learned a hard lesson: the truth is not enough to win a claim or lawsuit. This set David on the path to being a lawyer to fight for the little guy against large corporate or government interests.
Along the way, David searched for the secrets to winning in court. In 2004, he discovered the work of Ed Lazarus and American lawyers Greg Cusimano, David Bossart, and David Werner. They discovered the key to winning was to focus on the expectations and beliefs of the decision-maker. This seemingly simple idea was a game-changer. Their book, Winning Case Preparation: Understanding Jury Bias, is a must-read for any lawyer or advocate for disability claimants.
Focusing on the decision-maker is a complete reversal in how people intuitively prepare and present a case. People tend to focus on themselves and their own beliefs. Unfortunately, that approach is often a recipe for disaster.
Cusimano’s groundbreaking work forms the foundation of The Story Alignment Method ™. We focus on the decision-maker and how to present your story in the most persuasive way to them. There are five steps:
Step 1 – Decision-Maker Analysis
We start by focusing on the person who will decide your claim (i.e., the decision-maker). Who are they? What do they expect to see in a winning disability claim? What do they believe about disability claimants? Do they have pressures or incentives that affect their decisions? Focusing on the decision-maker is the key to success.
Step 2 – Fact Gathering
We then analyze your current situation. We gather relevant records and documents. Your past actions, choices, and behaviour get examined. We identify the facts that you have presented to the decision-maker.
Step 3 – Story Alignment Issue Analysis
This step is the most difficult — but it’s where the magic happens. We analyze how your current situation might be out of alignment with the decision-maker’s beliefs, expectations, and incentives. How do they view your situation? From their perspective, what are the red flags? What are the facts that hurt your credibility? Where are the gaps in evidence? What technical requirements are not met? What new information or facts are needed to persuade the decision-maker?
Step 4 – Course Correction
This is when we take action on the issues we pinpointed in Step 3. We identify the information we need to correct problems and remove red flags. Then we take action to gather new evidence including records, witnesses, and expert opinions. We get you to take any actions needed to repair or enhance your credibility. This might include trying treatment you declined in the past or making an honest attempt to return to work one more time.
Step 5 – Telling Your Best Story
Using the new facts and evidence, we present your story in a way that aligns with the expectations, beliefs, and incentives of the decision-maker. This is story alignment. When done right, the decision-maker will feel compelled to approve your claim — not because of trickery or manipulation, but because you have proven your claim in a way they can accept. You have admitted to past mistakes and taken action to correct them.