Do the rules of evidence apply to ERISA disability insurance cases?

As a general rule, no, the rules of evidence do not apply to ERISA disability insurance cases. The purpose of the rules of evidence is to regulate the evidence that a jury may use to reach a verdict. Since the trier of fact in an ERISA case is a federal judge and not a jury, and the trial itself is often in the form of a hearing before the federal judge, without the presentation of witnesses or evidence outside of the administrative record, the rules of evidence have no application.

Unfortunately, what this also means is that often there is no right or access to discovery in ERISA litigation; with the exception of some limited discovery into the insurance company’s conflict of interest. However, conflict of interest discovery is only conducted in order to level the playing field with the disability insurance company and eliminate the deference afforded to them through the policy’s discretionary clause. There is no right to depose or call witnesses at trial or to even subpoena documents, with the exception of the administrative record, which is designated by the Plan Administrator and the disability insurance company.

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FAQ

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.

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