If you are a resident of California and would like assistance with your short or long term disability benefits claim, ERISA denial, long term care, life insurance or accidental death policy, there are several things you need to be aware of. Regardless of what stage of the claim process you are currently in, it’s usually best to consult a disability lawyer and carefully go through your options before you file a disability benefits claim, appeal, or a lawsuit. In addition, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer who deals specifically with California law because there are certain state-specific aspects that may affect the case.
Unlike other states like Florida, for example, California is a pro-claimant state. However, especially with ERISA-governed disability insurance policies, there are some technicalities you may not be aware of, such as different statute of limitations length when it comes to bad faith vs breach of contract. Additionally, a lot may depend on a district judge: a Northern San Francisco judge, for example, may see things differently than a judge in San Diego, Southern California. This is why it’s vital to contact a law office and consult a disability lawyer who is aware of what decisions are typically being made in each district or enlist the help of ERISA lawyers.
Whether it’s a matter of federal or state court, we can help. As a disability law firm that represents claimants nationwide, we know that in California both the State and Federal Courts tend to have a skeptical view of disability insurance companies, and the appeals process is different. From our experience, we find that California Judges and juries are not afraid to question the actions and potential biases of an insurance company. While that’s certainly good news for claimants, it’s always best to talk to an experienced attorney to stay informed and decide on the best course of action whether you are at the application process or appeals stage.
If you need attorney representation, please contact us for a free phone consultation. We handle disability benefits claims process at all stages: applications to disability, appeals processes, and litigation of disability lawsuits. We are available to help you with any claim in the United States and you will not be required to come to our office. If we cannot assist you, we will try to refer you to someone that can. We encourage you to look around our extensive website and download our free E-brochure to learn more about our legal services.
Answers to Questions About Working With Us
I need a disability lawyer near me. Do you work in California?
Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm with extensive experience and we are available to represent you regardless of where you live in California or anywhere else in the United States. We have partner disability lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits, and we deal with clients who have a wide variety of medical conditions or have experienced injury. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world, so please do not hesitate to give us a call for a free initial consultation.
What are your fees?
Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim, we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the clients to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible. The three available fee options are a contingency fee basis (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate. In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.
Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?
No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting, please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office. Whether you need help with the initial application process, ERISA-governed policy issues, employer-sponsored Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance problems, insurance company denial, appeals, or litigation processes, we are happy to help remotely.
How can I contact you?
When you call us during normal business hours, you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Because we have extensive resources, our lawyers and staff return all client calls the same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.
Reviews From California Clients
Choosing a disability law firm to represent you in the application, appeals, or lawsuit stages is no easy task. You want to look for a law office with legal experts who have extensive experience in dealing with initial disability claims, appeals processes, and litigation, and have handled thousands of claims. It’s vital that your chosen disability lawyers of California have extensive legal resources, a well-earned reputation, and a high client satisfaction rate. Be sure to browse some of the client recommendations to make the best decisions:
Skipp from Northern California
I am writing to highly recommend Greg Dell & The Law Offices of Dell & Schaefer as disability attorneys. Greg has handled my permanent disability case for over ten years. Along the way, disputes with the insurance Co. were quickly handled by Greg where, in each instance, we always prevailed. Regardless of the pressure to discontinue benefits, Greg assured my uninterrupted flow of benefit checks.
Years ago I had met an attorney from The Law Offices of Dell & Schaefer at a dental meeting and the message (& Biz card) I took away that day became extremely valuable when, much later, I suffered a career-ending injury and had to file for permanent disability benefits due to my medical condition.
Even before filing a disability claim, the insured person needs the protection, advice, and power of a good disability lawyer. There are potential hidden traps throughout & especially early the claim process. Disability insurance Co.’s look to circumvent their duty to pay. They don’t just write the checks! Dealing with my claim, I often felt my Insurance Co. was taking advantage of me.
To successfully claim & receive continuing disability benefits, it was clear early on that I needed legal representation. I called Dell & Schaefer, spoke with Greg Dell, and immediately understood that this attorney knew exactly what I was going through & that he had the experience and power to represent me, to stand up to the insurance Co., & to assure my uninterrupted benefits. As soon as Greg took over my case, all correspondence from the insurance Co. went straight to him for his handling. No longer were those insurance Co. letters being delivered to where I live, where they would result in distraction & uncertainties in my home.
It’s been a great relief to my family & me to have Greg Dell and the staff at the Law Offices of Dell & Schaefer, on the job, responding, on my behalf, to the insurance Co.’s relentless pressure to reduce or discontinue my benefits despite my medical condition. Greg Dell deserves and receives my highest possible recommendation as a disability attorney.
Janice from San Francisco
I have MS and from the first interview, disability lawyer Rachel Alters always kept me informed about my chances of getting LTD. She understood my claim, answered any questions and represented me at any meetings I had with MetLife so I felt comfortable and at ease. Sonia was also on top of my claim and her correspondence was clear and understandable.
Sol from San Diego
I can’t find the right words to describe how grateful I am for the wonderful job you did to get my long term disability claims approved. I did file claims on my own at first but both got denied. It was heartbroken because I did pay monthly premiums for ten years.
When I got sick and was not able to work, the insurance company said that I don’t qualify for any disability benefits. Disability lawyer Alexander Palamara and his angels were heaven-sent to me. Thank you for taking both of my cases. I was at my very last breath and I just didn’t know what else to do and had nowhere else to turn to until I got hold of you, wonderful people. You are definitely a blessing and a breath of much needed fresh air. I may not be the most profitable client of yours but I would like to tell you that I am one of your most grateful clients. Thank you so much for helping me get what I deserved from the greedy insurance companies. Without you, I wouldn’t think the insurance companies would pay me anything. They will keep finding ways to deny my disability benefit claims. Again, thank you for a job well done.
Cecilia from San Francisco
Very professional and personable. Kept me informed of my case and reassuring. Both Mr. Jessup and Ms. Lauria are wonderful people. It was a pleasure interacting with Attorneys Dell & Schaefer.
Craig from San Diego
Cesar and Michal helped me through my case against Prudential. That only touches the surface. I suffered a bad injury which was a challenge as I often didn’t recall what was said and to whom.
Cesar took the leap of faith to help me but he didn’t treat me like a client but more as if I was part of your family. I don’t know how you were able to transform the team to have such a great attitude but by far I must say I was treated well from the moment I called and it helped me through the minute I faced IME’s. Cesar demonstrates empathy and cares for his clients. I know that I made the right decision to select your firm and am fortunate that disability law firms such as yours are around to help go up against big companies.
I truly am happy to send you a note to advise of my complete satisfaction.
The first and most important matter you have at hand is to take care of your health and let your retained ERISA lawyers handle the information needed to not only be approved for long term disability benefits but also to make sure that your claim is managed for the duration of your disability. The disability is a matter that may last a lifetime.
A thorough online Yelp review was held prior to conversations with Cesar Gavidia Esq. and Michal Mizrahi from the firm of Dell & Schaefer. I decided to retain them to handle my disability claim. The law-firm has an elaborate web page that demonstrates their ability to go up against all the largest insurance companies with a stellar track record.
The ERISA law is complex and if you decide to battle the insurance company without legal representation the odds will be stacked against you. An insurance company has one goal alone and that is to generate profits. The representation of Cesar Gavidia Esq. and Michal Mizrahi were responsible for the successful appeal and approval of my case.
An insurance company typically will deny or delay the claim as the penalty for denial or delay is non-existent. In my case, I was prepared with retained counsel Cesar Gavidia Esq and Michal Mizrahi who prepared the initial applications and submitted the ERISA appeal. The document was complete and included information to demonstrate that I was disabled and overturned a previous denial from Prudential.
I’m not only happy to say that I picked the right disability law firm but that I have developed a trusting relationship with Cesar Gavidia Esq. and Michal Mizrahi from Dell & Schaefer.
Cesar Gavidia Esq. or Michal Mizrahi will pick up calls and take the time to explain what is being done by the insurance company or return the call on a timely basis if they are busy. This was after I had signed to be represented.
I never met Cesar Gavidia Esq. or Michal Mizrahi in person but I consider them my friends versus just attorneys that have been hired.
Paul from San Francisco
Steven Dell and the staff helped me through a very difficult period in my life. I am very grateful. I am a physician and take care of people in very difficult situations 24/7. When I get that level of care and expertise back I am deeply deeply appreciative. They facilitated a difficult process, made it relatively easy, and obtained a successful outcome. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Diane from Northern California
Cesar was wonderful. I was given three different law firms by someone (I can’t even remember the other ones) but he was the second call I made and stopped there. Both Cesar and his legal assistant were so kind and helpful. Any time he called me for information or with the status update of my case he was so sensitive to my needs and issues. He was honest and up front and very fair.
Cesar fought for my disability settlement and ended up getting me more than I had even asked for. He is 1st class. I hope I never need his services again, but if I do I sure won’t hesitate to call him personally. He gives attorneys a good name.
Top 5 Summaries of California Disability Insurance Lawsuits
We believe it is important to provide our clients and potential clients with as much information as possible so that they gain a better understanding of the law regarding California disability insurance claims. Below you can read summaries of numerous cases in California involving both ERISA disability policies and individual disability policies. In addition, we regularly update this page with information about disability lawsuits filed in California and Court opinions issued in California. Not every case listed was our law firm’s case and you must understand that the facts and circumstances of every case are different. In order to be fair and prevent any unjustified expectations we report on both good and bad cases for disability claimants.
California Disability Insurance Attorneys Battle Discretionary Clauses Daily — If you are considering an ERISA disability benefits denial lawsuit, the critical factor is whether your insurance policy contains a “discretionary clause”. This clause gives the insurance company the right to interpret the terms of the disability policy and make a final claim decision. What it means for you as a claimant is that when this clause is included, the court is limited to an “arbitrary and capricious” review of the case. Without the clause, however, the court can also review the disability denial itself, usually resulting in a potentially positive outcome for the claimant. To ensure you are fully informed to make a decision about your disability insurance lawsuit, consider getting legal representation.
Fibromyalgia Claimant Wins MetLife Disability Insurance Lawsuit — The law regulating disability insurance claims is complex and often skewed in the insurance company’s favor, which is why we advise you to consult a disability lawyer. In a recent Lavino v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company case, a federal court in California found that the insurer had abused its discretion in denying long-term disability benefits under an ERISA plan involving a civil project engineer suffering from chronic pain and fatigue linked to fibromyalgia. A skilled disability attorney will carefully examine a denial of disability benefits to make certain that the denial is not the result of unfair insurance and, if a judge can be convinced that the insurance company wrongfully denied your disability claim, the denial will be reversed and your benefits will be reinstated.
Reliance Standard Disability Insurance Denial Upheld by California Court — When a disability policy is governed by ERISA and provided as an employee benefit, most employees never read their disability policy until it is time to file a claim. Unfortunately, some disability policies contain language that makes it very difficult to collect disability benefits, as showcased in the Fenberg v. Cowden Automotive Long Term Disability Plan case where a federal court ruled in favor of the insurance company. To avoid outcomes like this, it’s advisable to consult a disability lawyer with extensive experience in dealing with ERISA-governed policies.
A Successful California Disability Insurance Claim Does Not Require “Absolute Helplessness” — A recurring issue in California disability cases focuses on how “total disability” is defined in private long-term disability insurance policies. Insurance companies frequently deny long term disability benefits by interpreting policy language to mean that the employee must be unable to perform any work whatsoever to receive benefits. Fortunately, California courts do not interpret total disability clauses as strictly as insurance companies would like, as shown in the case of Joyce v. United Insurance Company of America where the court ruled in favor of the claimant who had suffered an injury at work and was subsequently disabled.
“Any occupation” disability insurance claim discussed by a California Disability Lawyer — Disability insurance companies are notorious for denying disability benefits when the definition of disability changes to “any occupation”. However, California has an established pro-insured interpretation of what it means to be disabled and unable to perform any occupation, and it does not require absolute helplessness of the claimant to be recognized as unable to do any occupation.
California Courts, Government & Department of Insurance
- California Court System
Official website of the California state court system
- Official government website of the State of California
Information regarding the state of California governmental entities and resources.
- Official website for California Legislative Information
- California Department of Insurance
Regulates all insurance companies that do business in California
- United States Court Of Appeals for The Ninth Circuit
This court has jurisdiction over appeals from United States District Courts located in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii.
- US District Court, Central California
- US District Court, Southern California
- US District Court, Northern California
- US District Court, Eastern California