Long-Term Disability Insurance for Chiropractors
Nobody plans on developing a long-term disability, but sudden injuries and illnesses can swiftly end a chiropractor’s career. That’s why many chiropractors purchase long-term disability insurance to mitigate the potential effects of a lengthy illness or injury. But if your insurance company won’t honor its policy, you could face severe financial stress.
The team at Abell and Capitan Law has extensive experience with long-term disability claims and can help you fight against a stubborn insurer. We have represented people across many industries in long-term disability cases and can help you recover the money you need. Though our offices are in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, we represent clients nationwide, with a particular focus on Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New Jersey. Call (267) 419-7888 today or fill out our contact form to speak with one of our disability lawyers.
What Is Long-Term Disability Insurance, and What Benefits Does It Provide?
Long-term disability insurance is your safety net when life throws unexpected curveballs your way. It provides you with a portion of your lost income if you cannot work due to a prolonged illness or a debilitating injury. Essentially, it’s there to ensure you can make ends meet, even when your life seems to have other plans. While specific terms can vary across policies, long-term disability insurance usually includes the following benefits:
- Income Replacement: Long-term disability insurance primarily functions to replace a significant percentage of your income when you cannot work due to an illness or injury. The exact percentage can vary, but it commonly ranges from 50% to 60% of your pre-disability earnings, though some policies cover up to 80 percent or more.
- Rehabilitation Services: In the event of a disability, you may need rehabilitation or occupational therapy to aid your recovery and return to work. Many long-term disability insurance policies offer coverage for such services.
- Survivor Benefits: Should the policyholder pass away while receiving long-term disability benefits, the insurance may pay a survivor benefit to the insured’s spouse or dependents.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance
Understanding the differences between workers’ compensation and long-term disability insurance is crucial when planning for unforeseen circumstances that might affect your ability to work. Let’s take a look at both of these benefits, starting with workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. Here are some key characteristics:
- Work-Related Coverage: Workers’ compensation only covers disabilities directly linked to incidents at your workplace or while performing work-related duties.
- Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses: This coverage includes medical care needed to treat the injury or illness, and it often includes rehabilitation services to help you return to work.
- Disability Payments: If your work-related injury or illness results in a disability, workers’ compensation provides disability payments, which can be temporary or permanent, partial or total.
- Death Benefits: In the unfortunate event of a fatal work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation provides death benefits to the worker’s dependents.
Now, let’s turn our attention to long-term disability insurance. Some of the crucial aspects of long-term disability insurance policies include:
- Coverage Regardless of Where Injury Occurred: Unlike workers’ compensation, long-term disability insurance provides benefits whether your disability is related to your job or not. It could be due to an accident at home or an illness that has nothing to do with your work.
- Income Replacement: Long-term disability insurance generally provides a percentage of your regular income, typically between 50% to 80%. This is designed to help you manage your living expenses while you cannot work.
- Duration: As its name implies, long-term disability insurance is intended for disabilities that last a considerable time. There is often a waiting period before benefits begin, but once they do, they can last several years, or even until retirement age in some policies.
- Subject to Individual Policy Terms: The benefits and terms of long-term disability insurance can vary significantly from policy to policy. They’re not state-regulated in the same way as workers’ compensation and are subject to the terms of the individual insurance contract.
In essence, while both workers’ compensation and long-term disability insurance can provide financial assistance in the event of a disability, they differ significantly in what they cover, when you can use them, and how they’re regulated. If you’re currently dealing with a disability and having issues navigating these complex insurance matters, know that professionals are available to guide you and advocate for your rights.
Common Issues With Chiropractor Long-Term Disability Claims
Insurance companies make money by paying as little as possible for claims, and chiropractors frequently run into bureaucratic issues when they submit a long-term disability claim. Some of the most common legal issues related to long-term disability claims include:
- Definition of Disability: Insurance policies often have specific definitions of what constitutes a disability. Some might consider you disabled if you’re unable to perform the duties of your specific occupation as a chiropractor, while others might only classify you as disabled if you’re unable to work in any occupation. This distinction can significantly impact your eligibility for benefits.
- Pre-Existing Conditions: If you have a condition that existed before your policy was in effect, the insurance company might claim this as a pre-existing condition and deny your claim.
- Insufficient Medical Evidence: Insurance companies require comprehensive medical evidence to prove your disability. This could include medical records, doctors’ reports, and results of medical tests. If they deem the provided evidence insufficient, they may deny the claim.
- Lengthy Waiting Periods: Most long-term disability policies have an “elimination period” or waiting period before you can start receiving benefits. This period can last several months, causing potential financial strain.
- Subjective Conditions: Conditions that rely heavily on self-reported symptoms, such as chronic pain or fibromyalgia, can be challenging to prove to insurance companies. They might be skeptical about the severity of these conditions, resulting in claim denial.
- Mental Health Limitations: Some policies limit benefits for disabilities stemming from mental health issues to a shorter period, typically 24 months. If your disability involves a psychological component, this could limit your benefits.
- Incomplete or Inaccurate Claim Forms: Mistakes or omissions on your claim forms can lead to delays or denials. Insurance companies require detailed and accurate information to process your claim.
How Our Long-Term Disability Insurance Attorneys Can Help
The best thing you can do if you’re having trouble with a long-term disability claim is to hire an experienced attorney to handle your case. Our lawyers can help you obtain the benefits you need by:
- Analyzing your policy and explaining its terms
- Preparing your initial claim and gathering evidence to support it
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement that accounts for all the harm you’ve suffered
- Analyzing a denied claim and helping you file an appeal.
- Taking your case to court if your insurance company continues to act in bad faith
Having Trouble With a Long-Term Disability Claim? Reach Out Today!
You paid for long-term disability insurance and deserve your benefits if you cannot work. The long-term disability insurance lawyers at Abell and Capitan Law have offices in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, and we proudly represent chiropractors from those states and New Jersey. Call (267) 419-7888 today or reach out online for a consultation