Long Term Disability Benefits Attorney
If you become unable to work for an extended period of time and have long-term disability (LTD) insurance or a disability insurance policy, you may have already found that filing a long-term disability claim can be an extremely frustrating and complicated process. The process is even more frustrating and complicated if an insurance company has denied your claim. Long Term Disability benefits attorney Eric Buchanan and his disability insurance team are here to help.
Long term disability insurance is supposed to protect your income, and provide money you and your family need during a time when you can no longer work. You already have enough to worry about with your medical treatment, medical bills, and other complications caused by your loss of health. You should not have to fight with a disability insurance company while you have so much going on in your life.
Unfortunately, disability insurance companies know that it is difficult for most people to understand how to properly apply for and appeal a disability insurance claim, and will try to take advantage of you by denying the claim. Disability insurance companies understand the rules and know how the game is played, and will use those rules against you. The insurance companies also know you are going through a difficult time in your life, and that you may not be at your best, and you may not be prepared to fight the insurance company on your own.
Because insurance companies take advantage of disabled people who file claims, you need someone on your side who understands the rules of the game, knows how to hold the insurance companies accountable, and knows how to help and work with people who are going through an extremely difficult time in their lives. At Eric Buchanan and Associates, we have a team of attorneys and professional staff who understand the rules, and know how to use those rules to protect the rights of people filing disability claims. We have a team dedicated to helping people fight insurance companies to help obtain the benefits they deserve.
Long-Term Disability Claims
The processes of claiming long-term disability (LTD) benefits can be extremely confusing and even more frustrating. Often, employees whose disabilities make it impossible for them to continue working find that their coverage is far less than they expected. Many have their claims denied outright and do not know how to navigate the additional complexities of the appeals process. Experienced long-term disability insurance lawyers can provide invaluable assistance at all stages of the claims process.
How a LTD Lawyer Can Help
A skilled long-term disability lawyer can help improve the chances of your claim being resolved favorably by:
- Analyzing your situation and developing a strategy even before your claim is filed
- Assisting you with filling out claim forms
- Reviewing your medical records and recommending any additional doctor’s visits or medical tests that might make your claim stronger
- Counseling you to avoid the pitfalls that insurance companies sometimes use to deny your benefits
- Documenting the continuing eligibility of your condition
- Filing an administrative disability appeal quickly if your claim is denied
- Preparing evidence and obtaining expert witness testimony
- Taking the case to court, if necessary
Have You Recently Been Denied Your Long-Term Disability Benefits?
You need an experienced disability law firm on your side because the rules complicated and but there are two different sets of rules depending on whether you obtained your insurance through work or directly from an insurance company. If you get your disability insurance coverage through work, those types of policies cover a group, and are typically called a long-term disability or (“LTD”) policy. A policy purchased directly from an insurance company that just covers you is typically referred to as an individual disability insurance (“IDI” or “DI”) policy.
Employer-provided group LTD policies are almost always governed by ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. This federal law is supposed to protect the assets of millions of Americans so that funds placed in retirement plans during their working lives will be there when they retire. However, ERISA also applies to the rules governing long-term disability and other insurance coverage most Americans obtain through work. Unfortunately, courts have interpreted ERISA to establish rules that benefit insurance companies over employees. ERISA also has very complicated procedural rules that must be followed in order to preserve your appeal rights.
Long Term Disability Benefits Attorney Eric Buchanan and his professional team has handled hundreds of ERISA cases, and is very familiar with the complicated ERISA rules. In fact, Eric Buchanan and the other attorneys regularly teach other attorneys around the country about ERISA, and how to properly handle a denied disability claim under ERISA.
Because we are a boutique law firm, focusing on disability insurance, long-term disability, and a few other similar types of cases, we can focus on our clients and their cases. We see the same types of denials by the same insurance companies over and over, and know just what types of games the disability insurance companies play. If you decide to hire us, and we decide to take on your case, you will know that you have a true disability insurance team on your side that has fought the fight before and knows how to get you the best result for your case.
Because disability insurance companies know the rules, and use them against people, it is crucial to have someone on your side who knows the rules and can protect you. Disability law contains very specific procedures and time limits for appealing LTD claims. Missed deadlines, improperly completed forms or other errors in the appeals process can cause you to lose all your benefits with no way to get them back.
If your long term disability policy falls under ERISA, here are examples of the rules the insurance company does not want you to know, and will use against you if you don’t have a good disability attorney on your side:
- A court will only look at the information submitted to the insurance company before the company issues its final denial; you cannot add more information once you go to court.
- Your medical records are important, but your medical records alone will rarely win a disability case. In addition, you need specific documentation of your restrictions and limitations caused by your medical condition.
- The forms used by insurance companies (often called attending physician forms or “APS” forms) usually do not make it easy for a doctor to assess your limitations and restrictions in a way that will make you disabled. Often, because these forms are written by insurance companies, the choices of answers your doctor can give don’t include options for someone who is disabled. Or, if there is such an option, it does not match up with the definition of disability in your policy.
- ERISA law has very strict deadlines for filing appeals, and those deadlines are usually used against claimants, so that if you miss the deadline, your case may be over. However, even though ERISA has deadlines for insurance companies, there are virtually no consequences if an insurance company misses its deadline.
- Once an ERISA case goes to court, insurance companies often argue that they should get the benefit of the doubt in court, and that the court should allow them to win even if they are wrong, so long as they are reasonable.
These are just some examples of the many obstacles an experienced LTD law firm can help you avoid or fight against so that you will have the best chance to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Questions for Your Long-Term Disability Lawyer
Lawyers who exclusively handle LTD cases have heard it all when it comes to claims awards and denials. Some of the important issues you want to discuss with your long-term disability insurance lawyers include:
- How did your disability occur? We can help you document what was responsible for the disability. Insurance companies sometimes try to avoid paying these claims by contending that your condition resulted from a previously known chronic illness.
- How long must you wait before claim payments start? Long-term disability insurance policies differ in this regard, but we are familiar with many policies.
- How much money will you receive? A long-term disability lawyer can make sure that your benefits are calculated and paid correctly.
- What other insurance policies may cover this event? If more than one insurance company may be responsible, you need a knowledgeable long-term disability lawyer to evaluate how to resolve your case.
- What if you are only partially disabled? The details of coverage for partial disability are often specified in confusing language in the fine print of your insurance policy. A long-term disability insurance lawyer can help make sure that you get as much as possible under the terms of the policy.
Contact Eric Buchanan’s Disability Team Today
Eric’s team of disability attorneys understands the laws associated with ERISA, bad faith insurance law, contract law, and other areas of the law that will help you win your case. Our team has extensive experience in handling long-term disability claims, appeals, and lawsuits. The dedicated long-term disability insurance lawyers and professionals at Eric Buchanan & Associates have helped thousands of people fight wrongful denials by insurance companies and by the Social Security Administration. If you have been denied LTD benefits or have questions about your eligibility, contact the long term disability lawyers at Eric Buchanan & Associates, PLLC for assistance with all issues related to your claim. Contact us today to discuss your case.