If you’ve been denied long term disability benefits, hiring an attorney is perhaps the most important decision you can make. Choosing the right lawyers for disability claims, with the experience, skills and resources to fight powerful and well-funded insurance companies, can have a huge impact on your case.
Insurance companies have their own team of attorneys and experts doing everything possible to avoid paying your claim. You need seasoned attorneys on your side who are even more resolved and resourceful than they are.
For over 20 years, our law firm has helped the disabled take on the nation’s most powerful insurance companies.
Was Your Disability Claim Denied for Private or Group Disability Insurance?
There are two types of disability insurance coverage and the laws that apply in each type are very different. We can assist you in either case:
- Group / Employer-Sponsored Disability Insurance (ERISA)
- Individual Disability Insurance (Private Disability)
Group Disability Insurance
Group disability is provided by or purchased through your employer, and is the most common form of disability insurance. If your claim is under a group policy, it will be governed by federal ERISA law (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).
Unfortunately, ERISA law protects and favors insurance companies, not disabled claimants. To win these claims, your lawyer needs a deep knowledge of ERISA and a background of success in ERISA claim denials. To learn more, read about group disability regulations and how our ERISA disability insurance lawyers are able to assist you.
Individual Disability Insurance
Individual disability policies are a private form of disability insurance that are underwritten for an individual consumer. Many professionals such as physicians and lawyers purchase this type of insurance to protect them if they become disabled. An individual policy may also be used to supplement a group disability policy.
- If your denied disability claim is under a private policy, state insurance law applies (not ERISA). This is good because most state laws offer a higher level of protection to claimants that aren’t available under ERISA. Depending on the state law where the policy was issued,
We may be able to seek punitive damages and other damages;
- Legal remedies – such as breach of contract and bad faith – may be available in disputes between you and the insurance company;
- You are entitled to a jury trial (instead of a federal judge deciding your appeal);
- You are allowed to enter new evidence outside the claims file.
Our Lawyers for Disability are a National Voice for the Disabled
No matter how strong your disability claim may be, you can find yourself up against a wall of delays and rejection. Insurance providers count on most people giving up after a claim is denied the first or second time.
Without a disability insurance attorney’s help, a claimant is hard-pressed to challenge the insurance company on:
- Complex policy terminology
- Issues of medical, vocational and objective evidence
- Complex rules and procedures involved in the type of disability claim they have
When the insurance company tries delay tactics, we are prepared with strategies to ensure these tactics aren’t successful.
Simply delaying the claim process is highly effective. The following stall tactics illustrate common maneuvers practiced by many insurance companies to avoid paying benefits on legitimate disability insurance claims:
Repeated, burdensome demands for records and forms.
Some insurers launch a systematic flood of excessive file and record requests to the claimant.
Insurance companies know that if they just keep asking for more information, many claimants will abandon the process.
Demands for information become an endless cycle of filling out form after form, month after month. Or calling the treating physicians over and over to resubmit records. Or adding different “types” of information that are neither authorized nor necessary under the terms of the policy.
After months of submitting forms, the claim is denied on the vague basis that the claimant is not eligible for benefits. These efforts wear a person down so that the situation seems hopeless, and the claim is dropped.
Mishandling your claim
The claims process itself allows an insurance adjuster to mishandle the claims file and put your benefits in jeopardy. Here are just a few delay tactics insurance companies may use to stall or confound your claim:
- Sending the wrong claim forms
- Informing policyholder at the last minute that additional information is needed
- Destroying documents
- Losing claim forms that were correctly submitted
- Dismissing treating physicians’ statements in favor of the insurance company’s in-house doctor’s opinions, vocational exams or paper reviews.
Changing your point of contact
Switching the claim examiner in the middle of the process is a very effective way to stall the process. Sometimes, it can cause a claimant to have to start the process over completely.
Ignoring your calls
Not answering your calls is one of the original delay tactics, and it is highly effective. This makes it more likely that you will miss a deadline or make an error that will give them an excuse to deny your claim.
An initial wrongful denial is itself a delay tactic. Once denied, you must appeal in most cases, which is a lengthy, drawn out process. It may take you several months or more to exhaust all the levels of the internal appeals process.
Insurers often use this time to pursue further information in support of the denial. This may include sending you for assessments with their own doctors in Independent Medical Exams.
Our Lawyers for Disability Denials Can Help Fight Your Insurance Company on Equal Footing
At Marc Whitehead & Associates, our experienced lawyers for disability have helped thousands of people across the U.S. win their benefits. You must not delay in beginning the appeal process. Contact a denial of benefits lawyer who will fight for you every step of the way.
We provide a free case evaluation, and there is no obligation to hire us. We will examine your claim and explain your rights under the law. If you choose to hire our firm, you only pay us if you are successful in your appeal.