What are the Steps in a Long-Term Disability Lawsuit?
A long-term disability lawsuit is a time-consuming process that changes your life forever. Further, much will depend on the type of disability plan offered by your employer.
As expected, this is often complicated, so it is wise to have legal counsel assisting you from the very beginning. Our personal injury law firm can help you through every step in the process, as well as keeping you informed and ensuring all information is filed correctly and promptly.
However, keep in mind a settlement may take up to two years, and if the case goes to trial, even longer.
Your Qualifying Disability Plans
The first step is determining the disability plans for which you qualify. These may include:
- Employer sick pay – If you are on leave from work due to disability, this is the initial benefit you must use.
- Short-term disability – Many companies offer short-term disability benefits for workers who must take sick leave for up to three months.
- Employer insurance sickness benefits – Workers whose employers do not offer short-term disability may qualify for up to 15 weeks of benefits, as long as they meet the criteria. This includes an income reduction of at least 40 percent.
- Long-term disability – These are either workplace plans or those purchased privately by the employee.
- Canadian pension plan – Eligible applicants must have been unable to work for a minimum of four months before qualifying for the CPP.
If you were injured while on the job, workers’ compensation benefits should apply.
Without question, you must have medical evidence supporting the disability claim. Without such support from a doctor, your disability claim cannot go forward.
Making the Transition
During the period in which you transition from employee to a person on sick leave, it is crucial to understand what may harm your long-term disability benefits. Most importantly– if your employer asks you to accept a severance package, or even tender your resignation– do not comply. Doing so means you may have ruined your chances of receiving disability since retirement voids your ability to receive these benefits.
Applying for Disability
Collect all the necessary applications for disability coverage for which you qualify, fill them out and submit them. Because proper documentation is vital, your lawyer can help ensure all of the forms are filled out correctly and submitted within all of the deadlines.
Awaiting the Decision
In most cases, you should receive a determination from the claims representative within 30 days of submitting your applications. If several months pass and you still have not received it, contact your lawyer.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the application is denied or the amount is far less than you need, we will accumulate evidence to support the claim. You may require additional, independent medical examinations to prove you are totally disabled and unable to hold gainful employment. The initial filing is known as a Statement of Claim.
In the examination for the discovery process, both sides meet and are asked questions under oath. We prepare our clients for every aspect of this procedure. In addition, we ask the insurance company to produce all relevant documents and to explain how the decision was reached.
After reviewing all of the above, we will then discuss with you whether negotiating a settlement is the better option, or whether we should risk proceeding to trial.
Negotiation vs. Trial
In most cases, negotiating a reasonable settlement is a better alternative than heading to trial. If a fair settlement amount is agreed upon, there is no need to go to trial, and the lawsuit is dismissed. However, if the insurance company does not agree to a reasonable settlement, we can take the case to trial where a jury or judge renders the decision.
Trials require extensive preparation. It may take three years or more for the case to finally arrive in the courtroom. With a trial, you may have a decision in your favour—and the insurance company will pay you back benefits as well as your current benefits. However, if the decision goes against you, you receive nothing.
A judge might order you to pay all or part of the insurer’s legal fees. That is another reason why it is far preferable to reach a settlement rather than risk-taking your case to trial.
Contact us at Preszler Injury Lawyers today
Our long term disability law firm can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. We offer complimentary consultations, so call or text us today or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment. For more than 60 years, we have helped clients receive the benefits they deserve, and our record speaks for itself.