Long-Term Disability Insurance for Lawyers
Long-term disability insurance provides vital income replacement for policyholders with a covered disabling injury, illness, or condition that prevents them from fulfilling their professional duties. For lawyers who spend long hours reading and reviewing documents, speaking with clients, attending hearings and court proceedings, and managing the pressures of legal practice, injuries or illnesses that prevent working are an ever-present risk. For a lawyer, long-term disability insurance is essential.
If you are a legal professional requiring assistance filing a disability insurance claim or believe your claim was wrongfully denied, the experienced long-term disability attorneys of Capitan Law are prepared to help. Contact us today at (267) 419-7888 for a free case evaluation to review your legal options.
What Is Long-Term Disability Insurance?
A long-term disability insurance policy is designed to deliver monthly cash payments to its holder. Many employers provide such policies as part of group disability coverage for their employees. However, to qualify for these benefits, the holder must be incapable of working for a significant period. This can be due to a qualifying injury, illness, or another condition the policy covers.
These monthly payments are to substitute for a portion of the policyholder’s income during their time of incapacity. Generally, these benefits are equivalent to about 60 percent of the individual’s gross income before their disability. The payment amount is set at the time the policy is purchased.
Each policy outlines specific provisions determining eligibility for long-term disability benefits. For instance, some policies require that you’re out of work for a minimum of 30 days before you can start receiving benefits. Others might necessitate more extended waiting periods, such as 90 days or even 12 weeks of disability, before the benefits can begin. It is crucial to look carefully at your policy to understand the specific conditions you must satisfy to be eligible for benefits.
Own Occupation Long-Term Disability Insurance
You may have the option to purchase an “own occupation” long-term disability insurance policy, which frequently has higher premium costs compared to other types of disability policies. The reason for these higher premiums is that benefits are due when the policyholder is unable to perform the material and substantial duties of their specific job. In other words, you may qualify to receive disability benefits if you cannot fulfill the necessary tasks of your legal occupation. This is true even if you are still physically capable of performing other kinds of work.
These specialized “own” occupation insurance policies can provide enhanced protection and flexibility for professionals like lawyers who have invested significant time and money into developing their particular skills and legal acumen. Under an “own” occupation policy, you may be eligible for long-term disability payments even if health reasons prevent you from practicing law, but you are still able to work in another field or profession.
One important caveat is that your disability insurance policy may limit the duration that you can receive “own” occupation benefits. For example, your policy could stipulate that “own” occupation benefits are only available for two years. In some cases, after that initial period, a policy could specify that “own occupation” benefits are no longer available. However, “any occupation” benefits would apply. That means that if you’re able to work in any occupation at all, you would no longer be eligible for benefits under your policy. Thoroughly read your long-term disability contract to understand when and for how long you qualify for benefits.
Reasons Lawyers May Need Long-Term Disability Benefits
Lawyers are susceptible to the same types of injuries as everyone else. Common illnesses and injuries that could make a lawyer eligible for long-term disability benefits include:
- Physical injuries: Catastrophic injuries such as back injuries, traumatic brain injury, amputations, electric shock injuries, crushing injuries, burn injuries, and blindness – any significant injury, whether from a motor vehicle accident, an accident on another’s property, or a hunting accident could result in an eligible disabling condition.
- Psychological conditions: In some cases, such as after an accident, a person might acquire post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or another disabling condition that prevents them from working and might qualify for LTD benefits. Other mental health conditions that prevent someone from working, such as bipolar disorder, could also be a qualifying illness.
- Illnesses and other conditions: Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other condition that prevents them from working could make a lawyer eligible for LTD benefits.
Why Your Long-Term Disability Claim May Have Been Denied
Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses incentivized to deny claims when possible. Some reasons an insurer may reject your long-term disability benefits include:
- Failure to satisfy the policy’s strict definition of disability
- Insufficient medical proof to corroborate your disability
- Exclusion for pre-existing conditions you may have had
- Not complying with treatment requirements in the policy
- Administrative oversights like missing paperwork deadlines
If your claim is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision to get it overturned. Working with an experienced disability attorney can optimize your chances of successfully appealing the denial.
How Capitan Law Can Help
You should seek legal help from a long-term disability attorney if you need help filing for long-term disability benefits. If your application was denied, The lawyers at Capitan Law can handle the complex claims process on your behalf. Our team will fight for the benefits you deserve. Our services include:
- Thoroughly reviewing your claim file and insurance policy
- Gathering and presenting medical evidence to substantiate your disability
- Handling appeals if your claim is denied
- Taking your case to court if necessary to obtain your rightful benefits
Unlike most law firms, our sole focus is on disability law. Our legal team understands the unique challenges each disability presents. We are passionate about fighting for the rights and dignity of every client who walks through our doors.
With offices in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, we’re proud to help residents of PA, KY, and New Jersey with their long-term disability insurance claims. Don’t go through this alone. Contact us today at (267) 419-7888 for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.