Top-Rated Long Term Disability Attorney and ERISA Lawyer in Virginia

 

If your disability prevents you from working for an extended period, it will deplete your savings and cause significant emotional stress. These concerns are exactly why many of you purchased long term disability insurance in the first place. You planned for the worst case scenario and are relying on your long term disability benefits to provide you with income while you are out of work. Long term disability insurance coverage is often the difference between poverty and maintaining your pre-disability quality of life.

 

Whether you purchased long term disability insurance through your employer or bought an individual disability insurance policy, you should be able to count on long term disability income benefits when you need them. The long term disability insurance carrier, however, will often try to delay, deny, and diminish the income benefits it must pay – even though you or your employer have paid premiums to that same company. This makes a bad situation even worse. But help is available.

 

Corey Pollard and our long term disability law team focus on helping the disabled and disadvantaged fight back against insurance claim denials. We represent people with disabling medical conditions of all kinds, with claims of all sizes, when they have been denied coverage under individual disability insurance, long term disability, or long term care policies. We have taken on, and defeated, many major disability insurance companies. And we want to do the same for you.

 

Call 804-251-1620, or complete the online consultation form to your right, to schedule a free strategy session with Corey Pollard – a top rated long term disability lawyer and ERISA attorney based in Virginia. We can help you if you’re located in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, D.C., or West Virginia. And we’re ready to get your family’s finances back on track.

 

Long Term Disability Insurance Overview: Understanding the Difference between Individual Disability Insurance Policies and ERISA LTD Polices

 

You are reading this article for one of three reasons: 1) you are considering filing for long term disability benefits; 2) you have received a denial letter from your long term disability insurance carrier; or, 3) you are receiving long term disability insurance benefits but would like to resolve your claim in full or are concerned that the insurance carrier may try to cut off your LTD benefits.

 

To understand your rights and responsibilities, it is necessary to determine whether you have an individual disability insurance policy or a long term disability policy governed by ERISA.

 

Individual Disability Insurance

 

Individual disability insurance is long term disability coverage that you purchase outside of your employment. You have to pay for the premiums on your own, without your employer’s assistance. And individual disability insurance policies are usually more expensive than Group LTD polices that are paid for or subsidized by employers.

 

Individual disability insurance policies are governed by state contract law. If the long term disability insurance carrier is not being fair, you have the right to file a lawsuit in state court and to have a jury decide whether you are disabled under the policy’s terms.

 

Insurance companies that provide individual disability insurance coverage must act in good faith. If not, you can sue the LTD carrier for bad faith. The insurance carrier may be liable for punitive damages or the payment of your attorney fees if it acted egregiously. These options are not available under ERISA policies.

 

Long term disability lawyer Corey Pollard has experience handling individual disability insurance claims, appeals, and lawsuits. We are capable of handling not just your underlying claim but also any bad faith claim you may have against the LTD carrier.

 

ERISA Disability Claims

 

ERISA, which stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, may govern your long term disability insurance claim. It applies to all claims for benefits under disability insurance policies provided by employers. Many of you have long term disability policies through your employers. These policies are governed by ERISA, which is a complex law.

 

Though ERISA was initially designed to protect employees and their pensions and retirement plans, disability insurance carriers have had success using its provisions to deny long term disability claims. This is because ERISA grants immunity to long term disability insurance carriers who fight hard – and not always fair – by preventing disabled workers from filing claims for bad faith.

 

Under ERISA, no additional medical or vocational evidence can be submitted after you exhaust all administrative and internal appeals with the carrier. The federal court where you file your long term disability lawsuit will review the administrative record. There are no depositions, hearings, or trials in ERISA disability claims. Usually you and your supportive treating physicians are not permitted to testify. The court will review the medical and vocational evidence in your file – the same evidence used to deny your claim.

 

As such, there is a significant risk that the federal court will defer to the long term disability insurance carrier’s decision. Unless the long term disability denial was “arbitrary and capricious,” the federal court will affirm the insurance company’s denial. This is a high burden of proof for disabled workers.

 

Long term disability insurance claims under ERISA are complicated, involve short deadlines, and are governed by rules and regulations that are favorable to LTD insurance carriers. We recommend hiring an ERISA attorney who is experienced in long term disability claims before you even file for benefits. This gives you the best chance of recovering past-due disability benefits that you are owed under the policy and having your monthly LTD checks reinstated.

 

If you are an employee seeking the services of a long term disability lawyer after your claim has been denied, it is important that you contact an experienced ERISA lawyer. Virginia long term disability insurance attorney Corey Pollard has the knowledge and experience to fight your insurance company and ERISA administrator when they wrongfully deny benefits to you

 

What is the Long Term Disability Appeal Process?

 

The long term disability process starts when you call our law office and ask us to handle the appeal of your LTD insurance claim because your benefits have been denied or terminated. Many LTD claims are terminated after 24 months of benefits have been paid because this is when the policy definition of “disability” may change from “own occupation” to “any occupation.”

 

We also handle LTD claims that are terminated after the disability insurance company conducts surveillance that may show you performing activities outside of your treating physician’s restrictions, or after you are sent to a functional capacity evaluation (“FCE”) conducted by a physical therapist who concludes that you are exaggerating your symptoms, not giving full effort, and capable of full duty work. Unfortunately this is a common occurrence. No matter the reason for the termination of your LTD claim, long term disability lawyer and ERISA attorney Corey Pollard can help.

 

When you call our office, you will speak with a licensed attorney with experience handling long term disability claims, appeals, and lawsuits. We will provide a free consultation and answer your questions about the LTD appeal process. During this conversation it’s important that you provide us with facts about your case, medical treatment, and vocational experience.

 

If you want to hire us as your ERISA attorney, we will send you a retainer agreement that outlines our contingency fee. You pay no fee unless we resolve your case. Once you sign and send back the retainer agreement and authorization forms we are now your long term disability lawyer.

 

We will request a copy of your LTD claim file from the insurance company. This includes all information and documentation the insurance carrier relied upon in denying or terminating your LTD benefits. The claim file should include all medical records and reports, a copy of your LTD insurance policy, your application for LTD benefits, and other claim notes and correspondence regarding your case.

 

Usually we receive your claim file within two to three weeks of the request. We will organize your file and our experienced LTD attorney will review all available documents. After our review is complete, your LTD lawyer will call to discuss the findings of the review and to propose our plan for appeal. We will then get to work on the appeal plan.

 

We often complete the Appeal Plan within six to eight weeks of reviewing your claim file, though it may take longer depending on how helpful your treating physicians are and whether we need to hire a medical or vocational expert to provide additional supportive evidence. After we receive all the evidence necessary, we will file the appeal letter and supportive documentation, including medical records.

 

The insurance company has 45 days after receipt of the appeal letter to make a decision. Sometimes the deadline is extended. If the insurance company fails to meet the required deadlines, it may make sense to file a lawsuit immediately.

 

Your LTD appeal has two possible outcomes: either it is successful and you will receive past due benefits and reinstated monthly checks, or your appeal is denied and you have to file a lawsuit.

 

Long term disability lawyer Corey Pollard is here to help you every step of the way.

 

What We Do As Your Long Term Disability Lawyer

 

Let’s face it. It does not matter whether you have purchased a private long term disability insurance policy to protect yourself and your family, or have long term disability coverage through your employer, receiving a denial of your long term disability insurance claim is financially devastating. You spent your money to buy insurance to protect yourself in the event you became too disabled to work, and now you are unable to survive financially because the disability insurance company denies and disputes your claim.

 

Long term disability lawyer Corey Pollard represents disabled workers in claims for LTD benefits under both individual disability insurance policies and employer provided insurance policies, which are governed by ERISA. Both types of long term disability claims require that you pursue the reversal of your denied claim quickly because:

 

  • You may have to respond to deadlines during the appeal process or risk forfeiting your right to long-term disability income benefits

 

  • You may have little in savings and need money from your disability insurance policy to pay for daily expenses not covered by your health insurance policy

 

  • Your medal condition may worsen, causing you to forget details that are important to obtaining a reversal of the initial denial

 

 

We represent claimants at all stages of their claim for long term disability income benefits. These stages include the disability application process, monthly claim handling, denial of long term disability benefits, ERISA appeals, federal lawsuits necessary to recover your disability benefits, and any lump sum disability buyouts for income benefits payable to you. Your consultation is free.

 

Virginia long term disability insurance attorney Corey Pollard and our law firm’s ERISA attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and experience to get long term disability insurance benefits for disabled individuals. Our long term disability insurance services include:

 

  • Individual Disability Insurance Policy Analysis
  • Disability Application
  • Monthly Claim Handling
  • Denied Group/ERISA Claims
  • Denied Individual Disability Claims
  • Lump Sum Disability Insurance Buyout

 

We also handle the following issues that are often central to disputes over the provisions of long term disability insurance policies:

 

Definition of disability: Some long term disability policies pay when you are totally disabled from all work whatsoever. Other long term disability policies will pay when you are unable to perform the essential functions of your normal job.

 

Nature and extent of disability: Depending on the long term disability insurance policy, you may collect partial disability benefits if you are not totally disabled by a physician.

 

Payment trigger date: Your long term disability policy may contain a waiting period (i.e. you will have to wait a few months to receive your first payment).

 

Length of policy coverage: Your long term disability policy may pay benefits for a limited period.

 

Payment for partial disability: Some long term disability policies will pay you a pro rata portion of your benefits if you are partially disabled but able to work.

 

Premium waiver: If you are disabled for a certain period of time, you may not have to pay long term disability insurance premiums under some policies.

 

Presumptive Disability: You may receive benefits under some long term disability policies if you are able to work but have loss of vision, hearing, or limbs.

 

Hiring a long term disability lawyer and ERISA attorney in Virginia is a good idea because disability income policies are drafted with ambiguous contractual terms. The policy language allows disability insurance carriers to come up with several reasons for delaying and denying disability income payments.

 

 

Have a Claim Against One of these Disability Insurance Carriers? Our Long Term Disability Lawyer Can Help You Win.

 

We handle long term disability and ERISA applications, claims, appeals, and lawsuits in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, D.C., and Pennsylvania that involve the following disability insurance companies: