• Northwestern Mutual Disability Benefit Lawsuit Expectations & Legal Tips

Northwestern Mutual Disability Benefit Lawsuit Expectations & Legal Tips

If you’ve recently received a letter from Northwestern Mutual denying your claim for long term disability insurance benefits, you’re not alone. As one of the biggest (and most well-respected) long term disability insurance carriers operating in the U.S., Northwestern sends out tens (and perhaps hundreds) of thousands of these letters each year. What should disability insurance applicants expect when suing Northwestern Mutual to recover the disability insurance benefits to which they’re entitled? Read on to learn what the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer have discovered about litigating long term disability insurance claims against Northwestern Mutual.

Northwestern Mutual’s employees are experienced and you must be prepared to get approved

Most long term disability insurance carriers take a defensive approach – essentially, “deny first and ask questions later.” Because not all disability insurance applicants will appeal a denial, this can help Northwestern weed out some potential claims on the front end; meanwhile, applicants who appeal a denial of disability benefits may often be approved simply because the insurance carrier didn’t have all the information at hand when it made its decision.

Northwestern Mutual, on the other hand, engages in a heavy offense by investigating claims thoroughly before denying them. Northwestern Mutual will conduct phone and in-person interviews to boost their defense to a decision to deny benefits well before any litigation actually occurs.

Northwestern Mutual’s executives also tend to place a great deal of trust in their claims investigators. Even though an in-house attorney oversees negotiations and mediations, claims investigators aren’t shy about jumping in with questions and explanations. This is very different than many other disability insurance companies, where an attorney leads most of the post-denial discussions and the claims investigators are essentially relegated to a silent role.

Factors that must be considered prior to filing a lawsuit against Northwestern Mutual

There are ways to reverse a denial of disability insurance benefits without having to file a disability insurance lawsuit. Applicants can avail themselves of an disability insurance appeal process or provide more information to bolster their original claim; however, here at Dell & Schaefer, we haven’t often seen these post-denial, pre-lawsuit negotiations result in a positive outcome for the disability insurance claimant. In many cases, it may be best to look ahead to litigation rather than trying to bootstrap a disability insurance claim denial into an approval outside the parameters of a civil lawsuit.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Northwestern Mutual operates on an “own occupation” definition of disability. This definition may shift after a certain period of time (generally two years). In other words, while Northwestern Mutual may initially have paid out disability benefits because an applicant’s disability prevented them from performing their prior occupation, after a while, the policy’s definition of disability can shift to “any occupation,” causing Northwestern to deny additional disability insurance benefits absent a showing that the applicant can no longer perform at any job.

For those in specialized or professional careers, this can be a blow; while a surgeon suffering from hand tremors may obviously no longer be able to perform surgery (thereby entitling them to benefits under the “own occupation” standard), they could be deemed able to perform any number of lower-paying careers that don’t require steady hands.

Over 90% of disability insurance lawsuits result in a lump-sum settlement

If a disability insurance claimant sues Northwestern Mutual in federal court, the judge will often order the parties to mediation before the claim may proceed. In other situations, either the disability applicant or Northwestern Mutual itself may reach out with an offer of settlement to avoid trial. The vast majority of disability lawsuits are resolved through settlement, and this can be a win-win for both sides – allowing an disability insurance applicant to recover a sum certain without the risk of going to trial, and allowing Northwestern Mutual to close the case and take this prospective liability off their books for good.

If you’d like a little help in navigating your Northwestern Mutual disability insurance claim, look no further than Dell & Schaefer. Our experienced nationwide network of attorneys has handled thousands of these claims and we can help you too. Visit our website or give us a call today to set up your FREE consultation with a member of our team.

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Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Northwestern Mutual claimants nationwide?

We represent Northwestern Mutual clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Northwestern Mutual disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Northwestern Mutual. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Northwestern Mutual.

How do you help Northwestern Mutual claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Northwestern Mutual long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Northwestern Mutual:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

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   *****

James P., ESQ.

I was understandably distressed when I was informed that CIGNA had terminated my disability benefits after ten years of payments. Their rational was that I was not bipolar even though I had lost my position as a partner in a national law firm due to bipolar disease, I was not in fact bipolar. I went on line and very quickly found that Dell & Schaefer had a sterling reputation. They really took me by the hand and guided me through the ERISA appeal process. They carefully explained everything. Not only was I treated in a professional manner; I truly felt that these people sensed my fear and pain, and were committed to doing justice.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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