Is it Better to Get An Attorney for a Long Term Disability Claim?
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021
The real question is: How important to you and your family is the income from the long term disability claim?
Long term disability insurance claim denials and terminations are difficult matters. There is no such thing as a “slam-dunk” case. If your family needs the income that the long term disability policy is supposed to provide, then you need an attorney. Your claim is too important to put at risk.
The next question: how do you chose a long term disability insurance claim attorney?
When Frankel & Newfield opened its doors, the firm was one of only a handful in the country practicing long term disability insurance law. We have continued to focus only on LTD insurance law over the years. It is a complex practice area, combining insurance and contracts law and requiring an in-depth understanding of medicine and the specific medical conditions which impact claimants.
We have seen what can happen when attorneys in other practice areas venture into LTD insurance law. The results are not always pretty, even when the attorneys are skilled practitioners – – even in insurance law. We have represented insurance lawyers and insurance agents in LTD claims, who thought that they would be successful representing themselves based on their own knowledge and experience.
They came to us when it was clear they could not manage their own claims.
Here’s another reason why this area of the law requires the help of a disability attorney:
The process for disability appeals is strict, especially when they fall under the ERISA rules—that is, disability policies that are part of your employee benefits package. Once you receive a denial, the clock starts ticking. You have a short amount of time to provide information on your behalf. And once you have provided that information, the “record” will close. If you have to go to Court to pursue this claim, the Judge who rules on your benefits isn’t going to look at any other materials. By law, they are not allowed to- absent special circumstances.
If your appeal is denied, your next step is often Federal Court.
Attorneys who do not practice in Federal court on a regular basis may learn that Federal judges have little to no tolerance for inexperienced or unprepared attorneys. Federal court has its own processes and requirements. Federal judges are often busy with cases that are far more complex than matters seen before state courts. Frankel & Newfield has appeared in Federal Court in many states, representing our clients where and when they need a strong advocate. We are experienced advocates who are respected by their peers and adversaries.
Frankel & Newfield monitors published cases in all courts to keep on top of how the judiciary is ruling on disability cases. Are there certain courts that seem to rule in favor of insurance companies, or are there fact patterns emerging that indicate a trend in denials from one or several disability insurance companies? All of this information is part of the cases we handle.
But even if your case never makes it to Federal Court (and most disability insurance matters do not), the best attorney for a disability case is one who understands that every part of the case is preparation for the next phase.
When preparing an initial claim, your claim file needs to contain all of the necessary information to prove that you are disabled. It is more than a simple statement of impairment. It may need some information about what your job requires, vocational evaluations, a statement from an economist, and other information that the insurance company portal will not ask you for. But a disability insurance attorney will know what is needed. This is why we warn claimants about going through the insurance company’s online portal. It seems so simple, so easy. It’s not.
If you don’t know to provide the appropriate documents, medical reports, test results, doctor’s note, and any relevant information about your work, you might press the “submit” button without giving yourself the best possible chance of success. How the material is presented is often critical in the potential success of a claim.
Denials of disability claims are common, and denials of appeals are common also. That is why our practice has been a guiding light for so many disability claimants for so many years. We have the experience, the knowledge, and the compassion to help guide our clients through one of the most difficult times of their lives.
Our testimonials section expresses the feelings of our clients. We suggest reading through it for sense of who we are, how we care about our clients, and what our practice is all about.