The short answer is “yes”.
The most important reason is because an attorney can help you develop the evidence that will be critical down the road if and when a lawsuit needs to be filed. This is especially important because in a long term disability case, most of the time, there is a federal regulation called ERISA, the Employee Retirement and Income Securities Act of 1974. This act specifies that if you have a lawsuit that goes against an insurance company, then the court can only consider what’s in the administrative claim file at the time that the insurance company made its decision. Which means that you need to get in all the evidence that you potentially think that you might use in a lawsuit during the appeal process, because you will not be allowed to introduce any new evidence in the lawsuit.
What Does a Federal Judge Who Considers ERISA Claims Have to Say?
Here is a comment from a Federal Judge:
Having recognized the difficulties posed by Plaintiffs position, the Court also recognizes that ERISA claimants may not have the advantage of legal advice or favorable referrals before the administrative process is complete, placing such claimants at a distinct disadvantage if discovery is not permitted on judicial review. For ERISA claimants not able or aware enough to hire legal counsel before the administrative process is complete, they likely enter into judicial review facing a loaded deck—a deck loaded with the expert opinions of those hired by the plan administrator and, with the possible exception of a treating physician or two, lacking the opinions of vocational or medical experts hired by the claimant.Abromitis vs. Continental Casualty Insurance Company / CNA Insurance Companies, 261 F.Supp.2d 388, 391 (2003) .
An attorney can help you determine all the key evidence, including opinion evidence from your doctors, vocational expert evidence, statements from you, statements from your friends and family, all types of evidence that might be necessary to put in the file now, so that we might be able to use it in a lawsuit down the road. And oftentimes when individuals handle their own appeals, they don’t submit the type of evidence that could be useful, or important, or critical in the lawsuit.
Legal Representation in Long Term Disability Insurance Claims
You should consider hiring an attorney early on in the process to help you develop the record and evidence that will be critical to litigating the case against the insurance company effectively.
Although based in Florida, the Ortiz Law Firm represents claimants across the United States. If your LTD claim has been wrongfully denied, delayed or terminated and you’d like to speak to an experienced Long-Term Disability Insurance Attorney contact us at (888) 321-8131 to schedule a consultation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Long-Term Disability Benefits and how to move forward with the process.