Getting long-term disability coverage is a smart financial move because it can protect you if you become disabled and are unable to return to your job for a lengthy period. If you have submitted a claim for benefits to your insurance company, you may be shocked if your claim is denied. Unfortunately, insurance companies initially deny many claims. At Osterhout Berger Disability Law, we are proud to assist residents of Gainesville, Florida in their efforts to recover the benefits that they deserve.
If your claim is denied, you will receive a notice in the mail. You should review this letter carefully as it will contain important information about the reasons for the denial and how you can go about filing an appeal. Long-term disability insurance companies have internal processes that you must follow to appeal your claim. You may not skip the internal appeals process and head straight to court. The law requires that you first exhaust your remedies through your company’s internal appeals before you will be allowed to file a civil action against it. The experienced lawyers at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you with each step of the appeals process. If your claim is ultimately denied within the company, we may then file a civil action on your behalf in court.
There are some common mistakes that some people make with their long-term disability denial appeals. In your letter, there will be a listed appeals deadline. This deadline is very important because if you miss it, you will be unable to later try to make a claim for benefits based on your disabling condition. You should also not just immediately send in an appeal without first requesting a copy of your complete file from your insurance company. The file will contain the medical documents and other evidence the company used to make its decision. Its contents can provide guidance about the types of evidence you may need to submit in order to supplement the record more favorably.
You should make certain to follow all of your doctor’s recommended treatment and to continue seeking care for your disability. If you don’t, the insurance company is likely to discount the severity of your condition as a reason for its continued denial of your claim. You will want to submit as much evidence as you can that is favorable to your position. Doing so will make it more likely that you will be successful without needing to go to court. If you do have to file a lawsuit following the internal appeals process, you will have to rely on what is contained in the company’s file, so adding the information that benefits you is of added importance.
Your experienced lawyer at Osterhout Berger Disability Law will likely ask you to do a number of things so that you can have a better chance of getting the benefits that you deserve. You may be asked to submit additional objective data from labs, x-rays or other medical tests. Your attorney may want you to submit to an independent medical examination. He or she may also want you to ask for letters from your former boss and your doctor about how your condition impacts your ability to complete the normal tasks of your job and of daily life.
In order to document your symptoms, your lawyer may want you to keep a daily symptom and pain journal so that you can provide a complete picture of the effects of your disability. If you haven’t done so already, your attorney may ask you to apply for social security disability or workers’ compensation. If you are approved for these, you will have better evidence that benefits are warranted in your case. Contact the lawyers at Osterhout Berger Disability Law to learn more about the rights that you might have in your claim.