Disability Litigation: When Your Disability Benefits Have Been Denied or Terminated
The disability attorneys at Frankel & Newfield are experienced litigators who go court to fight for our clients when they have been denied benefits for private and ERISA long-term disability (LTD) insurance policies. Where appropriate and necessary, the firm initiates lawsuits on behalf of aggrieved policyholders and beneficiaries throughout the country to recover their denied or terminated benefits.
We take the same approach to litigation that we do to the entire claims process. Our lawyers aggressively pursue all available claims and remedies, and relentlessly attack all avenues of discovery in litigation. Our reputation among the insurance community as aggressive litigators is a benefit to our clients, as the insurers often seek early and favorable resolutions.
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Sorry, we do not handle SSDI/Social Security claims.
A Recent Disability Litigation Success
In Magee v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, we were successful in having the Southern District Federal Court Judge determine in our favor following years of intense litigation, briefing and oral arguments. As a result, our client received all of his unpaid benefits and continues on claim today.
One of the central issues in this case was whether our client suffered from an impairment in his ability to perform work while suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Disability insurance companies often seek to discredit this disability. Met Life denied our client’s claim for benefits, relying upon doctors who never met, treated, examined or evaluated our client; yet formulated opinions on his health and credibility, solely from reviewing documents.
We proved to the Federal Judge that our client’s treating doctor, a well renowned physician in the field of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, should be accorded significant respect for his opinions, which were based upon valid, objective evidence. Instead MetLife chose to disregard his expert opinion, arguing that either depression was the cause of the problems or that no problems existed.
During oral argument of the motions before the Federal Judge, Met Life was unable to persuade the courts as to why it’s decision to lightly regard the opinions from Dr. David Bell should be accorded any weight, or whether the Court should not defer to the claim decision, despite policy language favorable to Met Life.
The Court awarded judgment in favor of our client, finding MetLife’s conduct to be “arbitrary and capricious.” Our client received all of the back benefits due and owing, and has been paid on claim since that time. The Court also awarded costs and attorney’s fees to our client.
We are proud of the level of personal attention and dedication we give our clients. Our team is there for clients throughout the process — from beginning to end and throughout claims management issues. We will continue to fight back against insurance companies on behalf of our clients. For more information on our successful litigation practice, you can read some of our success stories.
Clients Choose Us Because We:
Have recovered $200M+ for our clients.
Have seen your situation before.
Are aggressive in our approach.
Know the tactics used by the insurance companies.
Hold high AV Ratings & received the Super Lawyers designation each year.
Decades of Experience in ERISA and Private/Individual Policy Litigation and Negotiation
One of the firm’s strengths is the ability to navigate and negotiate the numerous entities involved in your disability claim. For many claimants, the disability insurance company is only one of many players in their claim battle.
The company reviewing their file may be a subsidiary of the larger disability insurance company, or a separate company altogether.
There may be another company that is made up of medical professionals, doctors, nurses and physical therapists. The company (which is paid by the disability insurance company) is nothing like a medical practice, but exists only to review claims and conduct so-called “Independent Medical Examinations” or IMEs, or Functional Capacity Exams (FCEs) on behalf of the insurance company.
None of these companies are likely to be familiar to the claimant. In more than occasion, important notifications and letters have been tossed because the name is unrecognizable. Missing deadlines because of this creates additional challenges for claimants.
There are also companies that process claims on behalf of the disability insurance company. They are sometimes referred to as “TPAs,” or Third Party Administrators. They often coordinate the medical professionals and reviewers.
Frankel & Newfield has worked with the disability insurance companies and all of their many related companies for many years. We negotiate with these other companies at every step of the claim before litigation commences, in an effort to get claims resolved prior to going to court. We recognize and respect our client’s concerns about time and cost, and we do our utmost to negotiate when that is a possibility.
Here’s a good example of how our negotiating skills help clients.
A client’s claim for benefits was recently denied and the insurance company sought to rescind (take back) the policy on the claim that the insured had misrepresented (failed to provide) information during the application process. Prior to bringing litigation, which would have been costly, with unknown results, we were able to leverage our relationship with the insurance company to engage in a pre-litigation mediation, which resulted in a settlement that provided closure and an advantageous result for the client. By engaging in this alternative dispute process and utilizing our relationship with both counsel and the mediator, which was enhanced by years of positive work experiences, we were able to secure for the client the opportunity to chart her path for the future and get certainty to her result.
And here is what a recent client had to say about working with the firm in litigation.
Attorney Newfield is a highly dedicated and committed attorney. His professionalism and strong knowledge in the areas of disability insurance claims, were key in the successful handling of my disability claim, were others had failed. Attorney Newfield, is second to none! He was extremely down to earth friendly, courteous and responsive to my disability claim needs. One thing about attorney Newfield that makes him stand out from other attorneys, is the fact that attorney Newfield calls you himself on a regular basis giving you case updates. I found this to be refreshing and amazing that he takes time out of his busy day to keep you informed. Attorney Jason Adam Newfield not only puts his client’s interests first, but also gives you a unique and personal service which is unheard for the most part from my experience. Attorney Newfield is an amazing attorney. It is without hesitation that I give Mr Newfield an A+ rating. I cannot thank him enough for the result he obtained in such a short amount of time on my claim!!
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We’ll Fight the Disability Insurance Company for You
When our negotiating attempts are not successful, it becomes time to engage in litigation for a disability claim. We represent clients in all states, in federal and state courts, anywhere in the United States.
Litigation in disability insurance claims falls into two areas.
In ERISA long-term disability claims, litigation is pursued only after all negotiations and administrative appeals have failed. The cases are heard in federal court. Federal court follows many of the same procedures as state courts, but there are some differences.
Litigation concerning private or individual long-term disability policies is governed by state law. That is the court process that most people are most familiar with. It includes pre-trial depositions, evidence and a judge and jury.
Frankel & Newfield represents our clients ourselves, whether the cases are being heard in federal or state court, anywhere in the country. We do not find local counsel and hand your case over to another attorney, no matter how much we respect our colleagues. Your case is our responsibility and we are committed to providing you with the best possible representation. That means Jason Newfield or Justin Frankel, whichever partner you are working with.
Litigation for private disability insurance claims is a contract dispute. Your policy contains numerous provisions which outline exactly what the insurance company promises to provide, as well as your obligations and proof of loss requirements for a claim. It is a contract between you and the disability insurance company.
The insurance companies are known for mounting an aggressive defense against claimants, seeking to find ways to wiggle out of paying benefits. We draw on our years of experience in and out of court to address the insurance company’s tactics with our own equally aggressive responses. We know how important your case is to you and your family.
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A Team Approach: Co-Counsel Opportunities Available
When attorneys who do not represent clients in disability law recognize that they need the help of experienced and knowledgeable disability insurance lawyers for their short-term or long-term disability insurance claims, we are able to step in to help.
Disability insurance law is a highly complex area of the law that requires a specific body of knowledge about disability insurance, insurance law, contracts, ERISA regulations and federal law. Attorneys reach out to us when their clients have a disability insurance problem because they understand that this area of the law is very complex and requires particular knowledge.
Just as we do for our own clients, Frankel & Newfield is able to represent clients in all 50 states with our co-counsel relationships.
No Matter Where You Live, We Can Help Litigate Your Disability Case
If you are looking for an experienced long-term disability insurance lawyer, do not hesitate to call our New York office at 877-583-2524 or contact us today – we look forward to serving you. We represent claimants in litigation in state and federal courts across the country, from negotiating to try to avoid litigation to digging in and fighting aggressively for your claim.
Jason Newfield is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield. He has spent the majority of his legal career advocating for the rights of disabled workers. He has lectured other professionals, worked on a Federal Advisory committee, and published many articles in the field of disability insurance claims and litigation.
Important note to all our clients: We have moved! Our office at 585 Stewart Avenue Suite 312 Garden City, New York 11530 is no longer our address. You can now find us at our new offices at 1 Old Country Rd, Suite 429, Carle Place, NY 11514