• Dearborn National Disability & Lawsuit Tips

Dearborn National Disability & Lawsuit Tips

If you’ve recently submitted a claim for long term disability benefits to Dearborn National, or if you’re considering submitting a disability claim in the near future, you may be anxious about what to expect and how long the claims process will take. Learn more about what you should be able to expect after filing your claim for long term disability benefits from Dearborn National.

The Handling of the Lawsuit Will Be Different if Your Claim is NOT Governed by ERISA

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a federal law that governs the handling of group long term disability policies offered through an employer. Group claims that are covered by ERISA require claimants to exercise one mandatory disability insurance appeal at the internal level before the claimant can sue in federal court. Individual policies, on the other hand, may allow a claimant to file a disability insurance lawsuit (and, in many cases, secure a settlement) in state court, applying state law, as soon as the initial denial letter is issued.

There are Significant Advantages for a Claim that is Not Subject to ERISA

One of the advantages of an individual disability claim, as opposed to an ERISA claim, is the standard of review the trial court will apply to a civil disability insurance lawsuit for disability benefits. Under an individual policy, the claimant will generally need to show only that they are suffering a disability in accordance with the policy’s definition.

ERISA claimants, on the other hand, will need to show two things: 1) first, that the claimant is disabled in accordance with the policy’s definition; and 2) that Dearborn National’s denial of long term disability benefits was either “arbitrary” or “capricious.” This can be a high standard to meet, especially if the initial disability claim wasn’t well-developed when Dearborn National first considered it.

In both ERISA and individual policies, the administrative record – or what was submitted to Dearborn National in support of your claim for disability benefits – may be all that the trial court can consider when deciding whether to award disability insurance benefits pursuant to the terms of your long term disability insurance policy.

The Time Frame for Resolution of a Lawsuit Varies Widely Based on the Facts of Your Case

Each disability claim is different, and fitting the language of the policy to the circumstances of your case can make it hard to answer the question, “how long will this process last?” Some disability claims are fairly cut-and-dried and can be resolved quickly, while others may require more extensive therapy, treatment, or documentation. In some cases, something as seemingly minor as having a doctor who is reluctant to fill out claim forms can set claim resolution back by months.

One factor that can speed up the process regardless of how long it might take is whether the claimant has help from an attorney. Navigating the disability insurance claim process can be a challenge whether the disability policy is an individual one or an ERISA policy. Disability insurance claimants who are trying to deal with this paperwork and complex claim language while also newly navigating a disabling medical condition can quickly become overwhelmed.

Let Dell & Schaefer help. Our experienced team of disability insurance attorneys spans the country and has helped thousands of claimants recover the disability insurance benefits they’re owed. Visit our website today to set up your FREE consultation with one of our attorneys.

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Questions About Hiring Us

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner 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. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

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 claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (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.

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. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls 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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Jim F.

My employer offered both Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability insurance as optional benefits among others. The premiums were significant, but since they could be payroll deducted I felt they could be reasonably managed and the security of continued income in the event of a medical disability was well worth the investment. As with the purchase of a first aid kit, most would prefer never having to use it.

I have been very fortunate to have had few illnesses or injuries throughout my life and more specifically my 45 year career as a healthcare professional. It wasn’t until early in 2012 that I was diagnosed with a chronic, progressive disease of the eye. Symptoms were minimal at that time, though regular visits to a retinal specialist, including regular therapy by ocular injection, were necessary to slow its progression, the symptoms did not appreciably interfere with my work. In spite of my treatments the condition continued to progress. In early 2014 the symptoms began to interfere dramatically with my day to day duties. My job required significant computer use and the reading of copious amounts of medical documentation. It became evident to me that I could no longer meet the expectation of my management and clinical position without working frighteningly long hours and enduring the relentless eye strain and other symptoms related to the illness.

Though I had always planned for eventual retirement from my full-time position, like most professionals I had hoped to be able to continue to practice my profession on a part-time basis throughout my retirement as long as I remained competent and able. That was not to be. Thankfully, I had the foresight to elect the disability benefit options offered by my company and have the premiums payroll deducted for many years. I notified my supervisor and HR representative that I had to stop working due to my condition and proceed with the disability application process.

All went very well and after using up my accrued vacation and sick time, my short-term disability benefits commenced. Since my condition is progressive and incurable I felt secure in knowing that once my short-term benefits were exhausted my benefits would continue under the long-term policy. However, much to my surprise, after receiving about a month of benefits I received notification from the insurance company that a decision had been made to terminate my benefits due to lack of objective medical evidence to support my claim, though significant documentation had been provided by my retinal specialist.

I was bewildered and unsure of how to proceed with an appeal of that decision. Since I had 180 days to do so, I decided to research the matter thoroughly. In spite of my being a veteran healthcare professional everything I had been reading on the subject cautioned about attempting to proceed with an appeal on my own. Legal representation was highly recommended.

I then began a review of local attorneys, hoping to find one that provided enough documentation on their website that indicated experience with non-social security disability related cases. I was also interested in seeing evidence of some experience with disability cases related to diseases of the eye and resultant vision impairment. I was unsuccessful.

So I expanded my search to include national law firms. It was then that I discovered Dell & Schaefer. After thoroughly reviewing their website, watching many of the video discussions, noting experience with vision related cases, particular documentation related to the insurance company that handled and then eventually denied my benefits, and reading a significant number of testimonials, I decided to request a free consultation as advertised. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

After that consultation, I was very confident that I was in very skilled hands which alone reduced my anxiety level immensely. Attorney Alexander Palamara and his Legal Assistant, Kathleen Bordes, immediately began managing my case, their professional expertise clearly evident.

They worked closely with my retinal specialist, my optometrist and the insurance company in compiling the medical documentation necessary for a successful appeal in an amazingly short period of time, keeping me fully informed all along the way. Shortly after being notified by the insurance company that my benefits would be reinstated and paid through the full term of my short-term policy I received a lump-sum payment.

Once the short-term disability appeal was successfully completed, Alex and Kathy immediately addressed the long-term policy benefits. Again in a remarkably short period of time I was granted those benefits, receiving a lump-sum payment for benefits to date and will receive a payment monthly going forward per the terms of my LTD policy.

I am extremely pleased with how my case was handled and the very favorable outcome. Alex and Kathy were a delight to work with and extremely professional in every way. Incidentally, the fee I paid to Dell and Schaefer for their incredible representation was very reasonable and very well earned.

I highly recommend the services of Dell & Schaefer to anyone who may find themselves in a similar disability-related situation.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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