Illinois Long Term Disability Attorneys
Have you or a loved one recently suffered a disabling injury? Has your disability insurance claim been denied, or your benefits terminated? Are you unsure of what your benefits are? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should contact an experienced Illinois disability insurance lawyer today.
If you have suffered a disabling injury, you may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The disability insurance claims process is extremely complicated, and mistakes can result in benefits being reduced, denied, or terminated. Insurance companies often look for any reason to deny your claim or terminate your benefits.
Hiring an experienced Illinois long term disability insurance lawyer, such as those at Abell and Capitan Law, maximizes your claim’s chance of success. We understand the impact that disability can have on your life, and we are passionate about helping our clients access their benefits. You can call us today at (267) 419-7888 for a 100% free consultation.
Why Should I Hire an Illinois Disability Lawyer?
Making a disability insurance claim is a complex, convoluted, and highly legalistic process. You will likely have a limited amount of time to make your claim and may face a set of confusing and overlapping deadlines. Many people who try to make claims without a lawyer spend hours researching application minutia, only to make a small mistake and have their claim denied. An experienced disability insurance lawyer will be highly familiar with the claims process and will be able to guide you throughout the whole process.
If you get your disability insurance through your employer, as most policyholders do, then your claim is governed by a federal law called the Employee Retirement and Securities Act (ERISA). This federal law was passed with the goal of protecting employees and their insurance, but in reality, it has made it more difficult for employees to access their benefits.
Courts have interpreted various parts of the law in ways that put the interests of insurance companies above those of policyholders. ERISA established a set of complex and sometimes conflicting requirements and deadlines that many policyholders struggle to meet. An experienced disability insurance lawyer will have a thorough knowledge of ERISA and be able to help you meet all ERISA guidelines.
It’s very important to consult with a lawyer before accepting any payment from an insurance company. In some cases, insurance companies may offer you a one-time settlement in exchange for you to drop your claim. The insurance company might offer you a lowball amount of money in hopes that you will not be aware of how much money you may otherwise be eligible for.
When you accept a settlement, you will have to sign an agreement releasing the insurance company from any future payments. Sometimes, it is in an individual’s best interest to take a settlement, but it’s always a good idea to get a lawyer’s opinion. A lawyer may be able to negotiate the settlement higher, or advise you that you continue working on your claim.
Why Should I Choose Abell and Capitan Law?
Abell and Capitan Law is one of a few national law firms that focuses exclusively on disability insurance law. Most law firms that take on disability insurance cases also handle a variety of legal areas, such as personal injury, product liability, Social Security, and more. Our narrow focus on disability law expertly equips us to handle ERISA requirements, hostile insurance companies, and disability insurance litigation. Our award-winning Illinois disability insurance lawyers are passionate about helping those with disabilities gain access to their benefits.
Many people worry that hiring legal representation will be too expensive. That’s why, at Abell and Capitan Law, we represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis. This means that we don’t request payment until the very end of your case, at which point we take a percentage of your overall settlement or verdict. If you don’t win your case, then you don’t owe us any money. We also offer a free initial consultation, so you can decide whether or not you would like to work with us at no financial risk to you.
What Is Disability Insurance?
Disability insurance helps replace lost wages if you suffer a disabling injury that makes you unable to work. Benefits are equal to a certain percentage of your pre-disability wages, often 50 to 80%, depending on your policy.
Most people get disability insurance through their employer, although there are also private disability insurance plans available. People may choose to buy a private plan if they are self-employed or feel that their employer’s disability insurance plan is insufficient. Plans provided by an employer are subject to ERISA, the federal law that dictates the claim application process.
Individual policies are not subject to ERISA, but accessing your individual disability benefits can still be quite complex. Insurance companies will likely do anything possible to reduce, deny, or terminate your benefits, so we recommend hiring a lawyer regardless of the kind of insurance you have.
Short Term Versus Long Term Disability Insurance
Depending on your injury and the type of insurance policy you have, you will either apply for short or long term disability benefits. The definition of short term and long term will depend on your plan, but short term usually means a few months to a year, while long term is longer than a year. Long term disability insurance policies usually provide benefits for two, five, or ten years, or until retirement.
Why Were My Long Term Disability Benefits Terminated?
There are several reasons why an insurance company could suddenly terminate benefits. Insurance companies are incentivized to avoid paying benefits, and may be constantly looking for reasons to terminate long term disability benefits. They may argue that you were not covered at the time of your disabling injury, or that your medical condition has improved and you are able to go back to work. A lawyer will help gather evidence indicating that you were indeed covered and that your medical condition prevents you from working.
Long term disability benefits are sometimes terminated because your policy has a limit on how long you can receive “own-occupation” disability benefits. Long term disability coverage generally falls into two categories: “own-occupation” and “any-occupation.”
Own-occupation means that your disability prevents you from working in the job you had at the time of your disabling injury, whereas any-occupation means that your disability has left you unable to work any job for which you are qualified. Many disability insurance plans cover own-occupation disability for a certain amount of time before switching to any-occupation disability benefits. Consider the following examples:
- John is a firefighter who suffers a disability that leaves him unable to lift more than 10 pounds. He cannot continue to work as a firefighter. If his disability insurance policy is own-occupation, then he should receive benefits. If his policy is any-occupation, an insurance company is more likely to deny a claim since John could theoretically find a different job that is less strenuous.
- Sarah is a kindergarten teacher who suffers an accident that leaves her unable to be on her feet for long periods of time. She qualifies for own-occupation benefits and relies on these benefits for income. After two years, her benefits suddenly stop. Her insurance policy only covered her own-occupation disability for two years, after which it switched to any-occupation coverage. The insurance company argues she could find a job in which she can sit for most of the time and thus does not qualify for any-occupation coverage.
- Ann is a firefighter who suffers an accident that leaves her completely paralyzed. She should qualify for any-occupation insurance benefits because there are no occupations she could realistically do. Unfortunately, even in such a case, where Ann should clearly qualify for disability benefits, insurance companies will most likely try to find a reason to reduce or deny benefits. They may argue, for example, that Ann’s paralysis is linked to a pre-existing condition she had before she signed up for disability insurance. Hiring a lawyer to help you with your disability insurance benefits is always a good idea, regardless of the kind of injury you suffered.
Contact an Illinois Long Term Disability Lawyer
At Abell and Capitan Law, we understand how devastating a disability can be on an individual and their family. The added stress of navigating the confusing and hostile insurance claim process is often too much to handle, and disabled individuals end up accepting a denied claim or taking settlements that are far lower than they deserve.
When you hire us, you can rest easier knowing that your claim is in the best hands possible. We exclusively handle disability insurance cases, meaning we are uniquely equipped to stand up to insurance companies and help you access your benefits.
We are proud of the work we do for our clients, and we would like to hear about your case. Give us a call today at (267) 419-7888 for a 100% free consultation. Ask us any questions you have, and we’ll give you an idea of your legal options.