How experienced attorneys can help with your long-term disability claim
The experienced long-term disability lawyers at Hunter & Everage are here to help you through the disability claims process so that you can obtain the benefits you’re entitled to. Our skilled disability attorneys can help you develop a strategy that will improve the odds of your claim being approved before filing or by analyzing a claim that has been denied improperly.
There may be additional tests or examinations that may make your claim stronger. If you can’t resolve it with your insurance company, a skilled attorney is crucial if you need to file a lawsuit.
What you need to know about long-term disability policies
Long-term disability insurance policies, whether obtained through your employer or privately, are designed to provide replacement income if you become disabled. Depending on your policy, the replacement income can range from 60% to 80% of your income before you became disabled.
Like most insurance policies, they’re meant to give you peace of mind, knowing that you’re taken care of if the unthinkable happens to you.
Unfortunately, long-term disability policies often give you headaches at what is an already difficult time for you. Insurance companies often deny legitimate claims, refusing to pay you the benefits you deserve.
We’ll worry about it for you. You already have to worry about your health, your medical treatment, and other adjustments to your daily life caused by your injury. You shouldn’t have to deal with a combative disability insurance company. You deserve to be treated better.
Why are long-term disability policies so complex?
Long-term disability policies are often governed by a federal statute, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, called ERISA for short. ERISA was enacted in 1974 to protect private health, pension, and disability plans for workers.
ERISA has specific requirements for the processing of disability claims, including deadlines and denial rights. Not all plans will be covered by ERISA, though, so you need to take a close look at your policy to determine whether ERISA applies. The rules vary depending on how you obtained your insurance policy, whether through work or individually.
There are three main types of long-term disability insurance:
- Group long-term disability insurance. These policies are often offered to employees as part of their employee benefits package. The employer buys the policy, and the employees obtain the insurance as part of a group that has insurance. These plans are often covered by ERISA.
- Private long-term disability insurance. High-income earners often buy a private disability policy directly with an insurance company as an individual. These policies are often held by well-educated and well-paid individuals, such as doctors, dentists, computer specialists, defense contractors, and professional athletes.
- Association long-term disability insurance. Certain professional associations offer disability insurance through the association. These policies can be more cost-effective than private policies, although their coverage is typically more limited.
How can a long-term disability attorney help?
Although it’s best to contact an experienced disability attorney early and before applying for benefits, we can assist you with a disability claim in North Carolina or Virginia by:
- evaluating your insurance claim and advising of your options under your policy coverage,
- completing insurance claim application forms,
- obtaining and compiling medical records,
- documenting the continuing eligibility of your condition,
- recommending additional medical reports or testing to evidence your disability and supplement your claim,
- preparing and obtaining evidence with vocational and medical experts,
- filing appeals,
- helping obtain delayed payments or undercompensated payments,
- prosecuting disability lawsuits to assert the issues in your case, and
- tracking legal decisions in courts around the country so we stay up-to-date on how courts handle various issues in long-term disability matters.
Although your long-term disability insurance policy is there to protect you and give you security when you need it, too often insurance companies deny valid and legitimate claims, prioritizing their profits over your needs. Insurance companies know that the process of applying for and appealing a disability insurance claim is difficult and frustrating, and they take advantage of this by keeping the process veiled in a confusing shroud of mystery for most claimants.
If your claim is denied, you’ll need to act quickly to meet the strict (and often short) deadlines to appeal your denial of disability benefits. If you don’t act within the deadline, you won’t be able to obtain the disability benefits you’re entitled to.
Bear in mind that it can take a while to gather the documentation you’ll need to support your claim, so you can’t wait until the last minute to file.
What should you do if you have a disability?
Coming to terms with a disability can be hard. It can be difficult to transition from a healthy body to one with limitations, and you may find that you experience a range of emotions and fears. Take time to process your grief and find support from family, friends, and groups. Take care of your body and talk to a mental health professional to help you through the feelings that you’ll experience. It can be a challenging time for you, but with the right support, you can overcome the challenges and enjoy a full life.
As soon as you realize that your disability may affect your ability to work, you’ll need to contact a lawyer who can help you manage the long-term disability claims process. Continue to attend your doctor’s appointments and maintain your treatments, and be sure to keep the documents and medical records each time you see the doctor.
Whatever you do, remember not to wait. You must take action quickly so that you do not miss out on the long-term disability benefits that belong to you.
At Hunter & Everage, we can help you with your long-term disability claim, no matter where you are in the process. Call our Charlotte office at 704-251-2945 or our Richmond office at 804-297-0838. You can also send us your long-term disability questions in an email.