What awards can you expect in ERISA settlements or court decisions, if you appeal a long term disability denial and win against your insurance company? As the above video explains, the money coming to you is limited, because there are no compensatory or punitive damage remedies available in ERISA cases.
This is not implying that ERISA settlements or court decisions are paltry; indeed they can produce substantial monetary payments that mean the difference between living disabled in financial ruin or with a secure and stable future. But when compared to other types of court cases, ERISA-based claim awards are limited for insureds.
How Do ERISA Settlements and Court Decisions Typically Resolve?
Mediation or Settlement. Many, if not most, ERISA-based long term disability cases are settled via mediation or settlement conferences. These are confidential meetings not bound by the rigid rules of the court. If an ERISA settlement is reached, this means both sides (after offers, counter offers, and much discussion) ultimately agree on a settlement amount. You cannot be forced or manipulated into settling your claim, and either party may walk away from the settlement discussion at any time. Once settled, however, mediation outcomes are final and cannot be appealed.
If the case does not settle, it proceeds to trial. This will be a bench trial before a judge with no jury, where the judge reviews the administrative record. The result of the bench trial is a court decision, not a settlement. You will either win or lose. If the court rules in your favor, the insurer can only be required to pay your monthly benefits from this point forward plus any back benefits you are owed. The judge may award you some attorney fees as well.
Your insurance carrier can still require you to continue to periodically demonstrate that you are disabled per the policy definition and could conceivably terminate benefits at some later point.
You Can Appeal the Court’s Decision. If you are not satisfied with the judge’s decision, you may file an appeal with the United State Court of Appeals.
Find a Qualified Disability Lawyer to Handle Your ERISA Settlement or Lawsuit
Be sure the attorney you choose is knowledgeable about your medical condition and the particular vocational reasons behind why you cannot work. You lawyer must implement the strategies that will fully develop your case under ERISA rules, to apprehend and defy all possible claim handling tactics an insurance company may practice.
Having an attorney representing you who has a great deal of experience with ERISA settlements and mediation can be an expedient and efficient approach to resolving a case.
There is no guarantee where a case may wind up; a qualified attorney will have extensive experience in Federal ERISA court, as well as the ability and background to appeal your case to the federal court of appeals.
We are here to help.
An ERISA claim attorney at Marc Whitehead & Associates will provide the level of representation you need. There is no charge for our disability lawyers to evaluate your situation. Call us or request a free case evaluation today.