When pursuing a claim for disability with a private insurance company, the process can be frustrating due to insurance denials and delays. Getting an overview of the entire process and understanding rights and responsibilities can go a long way toward easing frustrations and increasing the chances of a quicker claim approval. The following are a few pointers to assist claimants either considering or already pursuing a claim for disability.
Read the Policy
Insurance policies are contracts between the provider and the insured. Although there are certain guidelines courts use in interpreting these contracts, the most important factor is the insurance policy language. The claims process and rights of the insured under the contract should be spelled out within the policy. The policy language will govern any timelines and deadlines for filing claims and appeals and establishing a familiarity with the terms of the policy is prudent for any claimant. Public interest groups can help. However, if there are questions about any part of the policy, then getting a consultation with an experienced disability lawyer, like those at Iler and Iler, is strongly recommended.
Know Your Obligations
In pursuing a disability claim, the claimant must be proactive in establishing the clinical documentation of his or her physical condition. This means having doctors or other professionals fill out disability forms in accordance with any guidelines established in the insurance policy. Often in private disability policies there is a requirement to also pursue a claim for Social Security Disability. If this is a requirement, the claimant is well served to initiate the process as soon as possible. In the event of litigation, a demonstrable pattern and history of compliance with all policy provisions reflects well on the person seeking disability.
Know Your Rights
When a disability claim is denied, the claimant has a right to file a lawsuit to enforce terms of a disability policy. A jury can be empaneled to hear the dispute and determine whether or not the claim should have been denied and whether the denial was in bad faith. State laws apply in these cases and prevailing claimants may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees, compensatory and punitive damages, pre-judgment interest along with policy benefits. Having a clear overview of the process and getting a consultation with an experienced and motivated disability insurance lawyer early in the process allows a claimant to make informed decisions regarding pursuit of claim benefits and provides guidance for each step along the way to recovery.
Hopefully, the above information will be helpful to you as you handle your disability claim issues. Don’t settle for the bare minimum when you could get more (especially if that is exactly what you need).
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.