Chicago Long Term Disability Insurance Attorney Helping Claimants Apply for Benefits
If you have been severely injured or are suffering from an illness or condition that has rendered you incapable of performing the expected duties of your occupation (or perhaps even other occupations), then you may be entitled to submit a claim for benefits with your private disability insurer — whether that coverage was purchased independently or provided through an employer-sponsored plan.
Applying for long-term disability benefits can be an overwhelming and confusing process for many first-time claimants, and for good reason. Disabled persons must not only navigate the challenges of their physical and mental recovery (and the challenges associated with integrating themselves back into their normal routines), but must also submit an application for benefits that is likely to secure the benefits that they’re owed.
Insurers are incentivized to make this application process difficult, and in fact, that is fundamental to their overall strategy of profits over insureds. The more difficult it is for legitimate claimants to secure benefits, the more profitable it will be for the insurance carrier. As such, insurers frequently straddle the line of legality. If you have had your legitimate disability benefits claim wrongfully denied or otherwise mishandled by the insurer, then you may have a right of action against the insurer for damages (that includes the benefits at-issue).
Here at Bryant Legal Group, P.C., we have extensive experience handling long term disability benefits claims and disputes against disability insurance carriers. If you’d like to learn more about how to secure your rightful benefits, we encourage you to contact a skilled Chicago long term disability insurance attorney at our firm today.
Submissions Should Be Comprehensive and Airtight
When submitting your application for long-term disability benefits, you’ll want to gather a comprehensive record of your disability, its contours, and the consequences thereof on your ability to work in your current occupation — depending on the particularities of your disability policy, this may involve an employee statement (relating to your ability to work), statements from your treating physicians, and all relevant medical records. You may also include other evidence in support of your disability benefits claim.
Failure to include a comprehensive record in support of your disability claim is likely to garner a denial from the insurer. Insurers have no incentive to award disability benefits in “close” cases where it is likely that the claimant has a disability, but the record is not sufficient to objectively support such qualification — they will deny reasonable claims without adequate documentary evidence.
Given the importance of your application for benefits, it’s worth consulting with a qualified attorney early on in the process, before your benefits claim is denied by the insurer. With the assistance of an attorney, you will be able to gather necessary evidence and create a comprehensive record of your disability, giving you the best opportunity possible to get your claim paid at the outset. If the insurer has no basis on which to reasonably deny your claim, you may have a right of action pursuant to wrongful denial after you have exhausted your administrative remedies.
Employers Cannot Retaliate for the Exercise of ERISA Rights
If your disability insurance policy is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), then it will be subject to various protections and limitations that are somewhat different than those that apply to a policy for individual disability benefits. Employers cannot retaliate against employees for exercising their ERISA-related rights, such as bringing an action for wrongful denial against the insurer, or attempting to apply for disability benefits under an employer-sponsored benefits plan.
What is considered retaliation depends on the circumstances, but as a general rule, retaliation involves any adverse and material act taken against the employee because that employee is exercising their rights under ERISA. For example, if you apply for disability benefits pursuant to your employer-sponsored disability policy (which is governed by ERISA), then your employer cannot terminate you or refuse to give you a raise because you are exercising your rights.
If your employer retaliated against you, then you may have a claim against them for damages. The difficulty in such cases is in proving that the employer acted in a manner that was truly meant to be “retaliatory.” If the employer terminates you for poor performance, for example, then that would almost certainly shield them from liability for retaliation, as the intention behind the termination would be legal.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Long Term Disability Insurance Attorney for Guidance
Here at Bryant Legal Group, P.C., we have decades of experience advocating on behalf of long term disability claimants, and are well-positioned to assist at every stage of the disability benefits process, from submitting a comprehensive application for benefits to representing our client’s interests in subsequent disputes.
Our attorneys understand the pressure that insureds (and their families) are under when it comes to severe and disabling conditions, and how emotionally frustrating it can be to begin the long road to recovery while attempting to secure benefits from a hostile, difficult insurance carrier. We are committed to client-oriented representation, and strive to keep clients informed and engaged throughout the application and dispute process — this ensures that we can do our best work, and helps clients avoid feeling “lost” in the hustle-and-bustle of a dispute. Over the years, we have obtained significant case results that speak to the efficacy of this client-oriented strategy.
We look forward to assisting you.