Many of the disability claims cases in our law office are on behalf of Texas claimants. As the second most populous state in the nation, Texas is home to many American corporations, energy companies, agricultural corporations and high tech industries. In 2010, Forbes Magazine ranked America’s most innovative cities and the "Silicon Hills" of Austin, Texas came in second place, led only by the world famous Silicon Valley of California. Companies in Austin behind the ranking include Dell computers, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM’s research lab and the University of Texas’s Cockrell School of Engineering.
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Whether workers are in clean rooms assembling semiconductors, riding herd on Texas long-horns or wildcatting an oil rig, a serious injury or illness that leaves an employee unable to work means that they are dependent on disability insurance policy benefits. Based on the experience of Justin Frankel and Jason Newfield, the first thing any individual should do is locate their original disability insurance policy. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it is very important.
When you purchase a disability insurance policy privately or one is part of your employee benefits package (known as group or ERISA) policies, you are basically signing a contract between yourself and the disability insurance company. Like any other contracts, the agreement states everything that is required by you – to make certain payments and in the event of a claim, to provide certain information – and by the insurance company – to pay you benefits.
Like most products, insurance policies change over time. The same types of generous disability policies that were sold during the 1970s and 1980s are nothing like the disability insurance policies that are sold today. If you have a policy that was sold a long time ago, chances are that your level of benefit payments is higher and the restrictions are not as severe.
Unfortunately, many people are not as careful as they should be about their paperwork. Relying on the insurance company to have an exact copy of the contract that you were sold can be problematic.
If you are not able to locate the exact copy of the policy, contact either the insurance agent who sold the policy, or the Human Resources department of your company. The HR department will likely have to contact the insurance company to obtain a copy of the policy. However, you will need a copy of the policy before you can fight a denial or a delayed claim.
It is best to have this policy reviewed by an experienced disability lawyer before filing a claim. The attorney will be able to explain exactly what your obligations are, what your benefits should be, and point to potential problems that may arise. Once you decide to file a claim, it is wise to work with that same disability attorney.
If you are at any stage of the disability insurance claim process and you are concerned about a possible denial or benefits, please call our office to learn how our team can help.Ready To Talk?
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.
FILING A DISABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMSecrets the Disability Insurance Companies Don't Want You to know!
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