The key reason why you should hire an experienced long-term disability attorney is that these types of cases are really very different than most other types of cases, including personal injury cases and social security disability insurance cases. For example, if your long-term disability insurance policy was obtained through a group employer plan then any denial of benefits may be covered under a complex federal law called the Employee Retirement Income and Securities Act of 1974, or ERISA for short.
ERISA is very different than many other areas of law. It’s governed in federal court versus state court. And your rights and responsibilities are very different than any other type of case, so you want an attorney who is experienced in federal court versus handling state court claims and personal injury cases or social security claims in the social security administration. Those are, again, very different types of law. Under an ERISA case, the attorney must understand that there are certain things that must be done during the administrative review process. And if an attorney doesn’t have experience in handling these claims, then your failure to introduce certain pieces of evidence during the administrative review process may severely hinder your ability to bring a lawsuit at a later time.
In addition, the standard of review, or how a court looks at the case, is very different in an ERISA LTD case than it is in other types of cases. The court is going to look to see whether the insurance company’s decision was arbitrary and capricious. This is pretty fancy legal talk for asking whether the insurance company had any reasonable basis for its decision. An experienced disability attorney can help you make the argument that there was no reasonable basis for the insurance company’s decision. Now, many claimants and/or their attorneys are tempted to simply file an appeal that says we think you made the wrong decision, we hereby appeal and ask you to go back and look at it again. When an appeal is more likely to be a lot more involved than that.
An experienced LTD attorney can help you put together a good appeal, including lots of evidence to support the claim. If you’d like to talk to an experienced long term disability attorney right away, please give us a call at (888) 321-8131.