If your disability benefits are covered under a group disability policy through your employer, your claim is probably governed by the ERISA statute. If your claim has been denied, the ERISA statute provides that you must file a claim within 180 days of the denial or you won’t be able to file. If you don’t file it timely and then try to file a lawsuit, the disability carrier will claim that you haven’t “exhausted” your remedies.
Filing multiple appeals
Many long term disability policies will also provide for a second level appeal to allow you to once again challenge the disability carrier’s denial. The deadline is often shorter than the 180 days provided for the first level appeal. You are required to exhaust all mandatory internal appeals before you can file suit.
Why should you appeal the denial?
The ERISA statute requires that you “exhaust” all mandatory internal appeals before you file a lawsuit. If you don’t, your suit will be dismissed. By the time the case is remanded., the appeal deadline may have expired. It’s a double whammy for the unexpected.
Do I need a lawyer?
Yes! The ERISA statute is a complex federal law with precise regulations. Most attorneys just don’t have the knowledge or experience to properly handle an ERISA governed long term disability appeal or lawsuit. Unfortunately, many general practice attorneys will miss deadlines or fail to address critical issues on appeal or worse yet, not submit all the winning documentation as part of the appeal process. Unfortunately, unrepresented claimants often make the same fatal mistakes.
When should I hire a lawyer?
Let’s be frank! A claim for long term disability insurance benefits is won or lost at the appeal stage because, simply speaking, there is no trial in an ERISA case. Once the internal appeals have been exhausted and a lawsuit is filed, no new evidence can be introduced. There are no trials, there is no hearing, there is not deposition. A federal Judge simply reviews the claims file. Holding your best evidence is just using strategy.
If your claim for long term disability benefits has been denied, call long term disability attorney, Nancy Cavey, today to learn more about filing an appeal within a 180 day deadline. Don’t delay! Time is your enemy!