What is a Disability Insurance Lawyer?
Disability insurance is a policy that provides payments for workers who become ill or injured to the extent that they can no longer do their job and earn an income. A disability insurance lawyer helps clients apply for benefits, negotiate the complicated process, and appeal or file a lawsuit if the insurer denies benefits.
When Do I Need a Disability Insurance Lawyer?
Many people wait until they have been denied benefits to hire a disability insurance lawyer. Having a lawyer for any part of the process is not a requirement, but it is a good idea to work with a representative from the beginning.
If you have become ill or injured and cannot work, talk to a lawyer specializing in disability insurance right away. It’s possible to apply for benefits without a lawyer, but it’s also possible to make a lot of mistakes. You may miss deadlines, fill out paperwork incorrectly, or quit your job prematurely.
A lawyer will help you avoid these mistakes from the beginning, but if you have already applied and been denied benefits, don’t wait to hire a lawyer. This may be your last chance to get benefits, so rely on an experienced attorney to represent you.
What Can a Disability Insurance Lawyer Do for Me?
While an attorney is not necessary for any part of the process of requesting benefits, it can be useful to have someone with expertise and experience on your side. A disability insurance lawyer knows the system, the claims and appeals process, and the applicable regulations and laws. They know how to deal with insurance companies.
There are several important things a disability insurance lawyer can do for you at every step of the benefits process:
- Communicate with the insurer
Filing a claim for disability benefits should be a straightforward process, but when you have roadblocks, it gets complicated. You’ll need to talk to representatives from the insurance company, which does not prioritize your best interests. An experienced lawyer has done this before and will talk to the insurer to move your claim along.
- Represent you at every step
In addition to having those difficult conversations with the insurance company, a lawyer can represent and guide you for every part of the process. They can file the initial application, engage in negotiations, and represent you in an appeal of denied benefits.
- Provide experts
To convince an insurer you are eligible for benefits, it helps to have experts, which a lawyer can provide. Medical experts can testify to your disability and limitations. Vocational experts can demonstrate the skills needed to do specific jobs and how your limitations impact the ability to work.
- Appeal a denial of benefits
If you applied for benefits on your own and received a denial, a lawyer can help you appeal. There are specific rules for appealing that you must follow. A lawyer can ensure you make no mistakes and guarantee you have a better chance of getting your benefits in the end.
- File a lawsuit
A lawsuit over disability benefits may become necessary if you continue to face denials. An experienced disability lawyer knows how to go through this process and what evidence and experts are necessary.
How Will My Disability Insurance Lawyer Prove Eligibility for Benefits?
One of the most important reasons to work with a disability insurance lawyer is because they understand what the insurance company needs to see to provide you with benefits. The insurance company will always want to prove you are not eligible.
A lawyer is on your side and will gather the evidence to make it impossible for the insurer to say no. These are some of the things they need from you or will gather to make your case:
- Any paperwork, forms, or communications you have with the insurer
- All medical records relevant to your claim
- Additional tests or medical evaluations
- Testimony from medical and vocational experts
- Written opinions from medical specialists
- Any visual evidence the insurer claims to have proving you are not disabled
How to Hire a Disability Insurance Lawyer
Getting disability benefits is a specialized area of the legal profession. As you look for someone to represent you, only consider those that have experience with disability insurance. Line up lawyers and firms who claim to have the right experience and ask questions before making this important choice:
- What is your experience with disability insurance claims?
- How long have you been working on disability cases?
- Have you worked with clients in situations like mine?
- What were the outcomes?
- Have you ever had to take a case to court?
- Do you see any particular challenges with my case?
- How long do you think it will take to resolve my case?
- What are the chances I’ll get the benefits?
- Do you offer services on a contingency basis?
- Are there any other fees I’ll be expected to pay or reimburse?
- What do you need from me to go forward with my case?
- Will we be able to get back pay on what the insurance company owes me?
When you hire a disability insurance lawyer, you’re working with an advocate, someone to represent you in the face of a formidable insurance company. Be timely to meetings, provide them with all the information they need, and be communicative and clear about your goals throughout the process. When you work well together, you’re more likely to get benefits.