Long-term disability (LTD) insurance is designed to provide crucial financial support if you sustain a serious illness or injury and are unable to work. Although employer-sponsored LTD plans are governed by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), insurance carriers often deny employees disability benefits to which they are entitled. If you are seeking long-term disability benefits or your claim has been denied, it takes a skilled disability benefits attorney to protect your rights.
Disability Attorneys of Arizona represents clients on a wide variety of long-term disability claims, including claim submissions, denied LTD claims, ERISA administrative appeals, and federal ERISA-related lawsuits. We have extensive experience handling LTD claims and a proven track record of helping our clients obtain the long-term disability benefits to which they are entitled. When you consult us, you can rest assured your LTD claim will be given the personal attention it deserves.
What is an ERISA Appeal?
ERISA sets guidelines and timelines for processing long-term disability benefit claims. If your LTD benefit claim is denied, ERISA provides for an appeals process. Nonetheless, insurers have wide latitude in establishing many terms of long-term disability insurance policies, which gives them an unfair advantage over disabled workers in ERISA appeals.
At Disability Attorneys of Arizona, we have the skills and resources to level the playing field. Over our many years of practice, we have established positive working relationships with all the major insurance carriers, which is critically important in an LTD benefit claim. In the event of a claim denial, we leverage our knowledge of ERISA in handling all aspects of your appeal. ERISA requires a “full and fair” review of LTD benefit claims and adverse benefit determinations.
In particular, your ERISA appeal must be reviewed by a different benefit claim representative than the one who made the initial adverse determination. ERISA also requires at least 1 appeal to be filed (or 2 depending on the terms of your LTD policy) before a lawsuit can be filed in federal court.
When you work with our legal team, you can trust us to submit a well-conceived ERISA appeal, which increases the likelihood of your long-term disability benefit claim being approved. It is crucial for the appeal to establish a comprehensive administrative record — if ERISA litigation becomes necessary, the court will not consider any information that was not addressed in the appeal. Our legal team will collaborate with your treating physicians to make sure your appeal is submitted with convincing medical information. Additionally, we will work with your doctor to prepare statements specific to your medical condition and occupation.
Depending on the circumstances, we may also recommend additional medical testing to support your claim and will likely consult a vocational expert to determine the skills you can or cannot perform due to your medical condition. Finally, it may also be helpful to prepare personal statements, as well as statements from colleagues, family members, and friends to demonstrate how your condition impacts your daily activities. In the event your initial ERISA appeal is denied, we will consider whether to pursue a voluntary second appeal or litigate your claim in federal court.
ERISA litigation is not like a typical court proceeding that involves a jury or witness testimony. Instead, your claim will be decided by a judge based solely on his or her review of the administrative record. Our legal team has the knowledge and skill that is necessary for a successful outcome and will aggressively refute any arguments for denying your claim.
We have a proven track record of holding insurers accountable and we know how to convince them to come to the negotiating table. If we are unsuccessful at the district court level, we will determine if it is in your best interests to take the case to the appellate courts. Obviously, an ERISA appeal can be a lengthy process and even more so if litigation becomes necessary.
However, ERISA allows you to recover attorneys’ fees if your claim prevails and the court may also award such fees if your claim shows some degree of success on the merits.
Contact Our Arizona ERISA Long-Term Disability Insurance Attorney
If your long-term disability benefits claim has been denied, you are likely frustrated and concerned about your physical well-being and your financial future. That’s the time to call Disability Attorneys of Arizona. We have the knowledge and skills to guide you through the ERISA appeals process and will work to reach a negotiated settlement with your insurance carrier. If litigation becomes necessary, we know our way around the courtroom.
Knowing that being unable to work is a serious financial burden, we handle all ERISA claims on a contingency basis, which means that you will not pay any attorneys’ fees to us until we win your claim. Above all, we will stand by you every step of the way and fight to help you obtain the long-term disability benefits owed to you. Please contact our office today to set up a free consultation.