If your disability insurance claim has been denied, especially after a workplace injury, your only option for compensation is to go full force with a lawsuit. However, you don’t need to burn bridges in the process. You may never want your job back, but burning bridges is still a bad idea.
Chances are, you’ll need to put that job on your resume, and future prospective employers will call to verify employment. You can’t control everything your boss says about you, and by law your boss is only allowed to answer certain questions. However, if you burn that bridge, they’ll be more likely to speak poorly of you without regard for the law.
The company you work for is required by law to carry various types of insurance including workers’ compensation and liability insurance. When your legitimate disability claim is denied, you can’t afford not to pursue a lawsuit. Here’s how to manage the situation to produce the most desirable possible outcome:
Don’t blame your boss
Technically, it’s the insurance company that denies claims, not your boss. Although, your boss’ input regarding your situation may have played a part in your denial. Don’t assume either way. It’s possible your boss is on your side and they can’t do anything about your denial. If you don’t know, play it safe and reserve your assumptions. Your boss is probably feeling the same things you are: scared and angry.
Look for a lawyer who has earned respect in the courtroom
When you find a lawyer to take your case, you’ll probably want him or her to destroy the insurance company that denied your claim. That’s an understandable reaction, but well-respected lawyers don’t destroy their enemies.
A good lawyer should be aggressive, but in a constructive way; a way that commands respect for all the right reasons. Their confidence should be respected in the courtroom, and if they have an established reputation, it should be honorable. Not all law firms know where that line is.
Those that know that line gain the ultimate respect even from those they argue against. For instance, long term disability lawyers at Darras Law have earned the respect of every major insurance company in the United States fighting long-term disability claims. They’ve been to every home office to depose everyone at every major insurance company over the last 30 years. During litigation in the courtroom, they’re respected because they leave the other side with their dignity.
Stick to the facts and only communicate necessary information
Understandably, emotions will be running high when you’re facing an uncertain future connected to your finances. Not knowing how or when you can pay your bills is a scary place to be in. Be extremely diligent and sparing with your communications to your boss and teammates. Don’t get involved in unnecessary conversations. Don’t call your boss to chew him or her out, and don’t email corporate headquarters to give them a piece of your mind. If you get the urge to file a complaint with HR, wait until you talk to a lawyer.
Limit your interactions with coworkers, unless they’re part of your regular circle of trusted friends. The last thing you want is for a coworker to record you talking down about the company and handing it over to the boss. That type of recording may not have an influence on the outcome of your lawsuit, but it will ensure the loss of your job and any future positive references.
Understand you’re not alone
There are no accurate statistics on how many long-term or short-term disability claims are denied each year. The insurance companies don’t publish that information. However, thanks to self-reporting, we know that number is fairly high.
Many claims are denied based on technicalities. For example, an insurance company won’t look at the particulars of your job to determine whether you’re disabled from your occupation. They’ll look at the general occupation and job description that most closely matches yours. It doesn’t matter if your job has specific requirements you can no longer meet. If your general occupation doesn’t have those requirements, your claim will be denied.
You can also be denied for a pre-existing condition, and not being under the care of a physician. Some policies define ‘physician’ as a medical doctor, and not alternative care providers. If you see a naturopath, chiropractor, or acupuncturist, your claim might be in jeopardy.
Long-term disability claims are expensive. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations and will do whatever they can to pay out as little as possible. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. Contact an attorney to fight the battle for you.
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.