When you need to claim long-term disability benefits, you probably assume the process will be pretty straightforward. All you should have to do is provide evidence of your disability, and the insurance provider should approve coverage. However, long-term disability claims are nothing like making a claim under your home or auto insurance.
Long-term disability claims are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA is a federal law, which means things can get complicated quickly. Having an attorney on your side who can act as your advocate can help give you the best shot at recovering the benefits you deserve.
Putting together a strong initial claim
Ideally, you should be able to recover your disability benefits on the first try. An attorney knows what types of information insurance companies desire. Your lawyer can help you gather all relevant evidence and put together the documentation needed to make a strong claim. Nonetheless, denials are commonplace. The good news is the first word is not the last word.
An attorney understands the appeals process
You have the opportunity to appeal a denied claim. Depending on the policy, you may have only one shot at an appeal. It’s important to get things right. The good news about the appeals process is you can supply additional evidence. You’re not stuck making the same claim only to have a different person reach the same decision.
If you’ve received a new diagnosis or have medical evidence that your condition is getting worse, you can supply the information on appeal. An attorney understands the appeals process. Your lawyer can help put together the additional evidence you need to help reach a decision that’s favorable to you.
When all else fails, your lawyer can advocate in court
If the appeals process doesn’t work in your favor, your attorney can take your case to court. Because claims are heard in federal court, it’s essential to have legal counsel who understands federal procedures. Litigation is your last chance for success. You shouldn’t attempt to navigate this process on your own.
Ensure your interests are protected
ERISA benefits are crucial for helping you move forward with your life. It’s important to have an advocate in your corner who will protect your interests. The claims process is complex. A lawyer could make the difference between success and defeat.