What is ERISA?
ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). This federal statute was passed by Congress in 1974. ERISA applies to all claims for benefits under an employer benefit plan. If you receive disability insurance coverage through your job, your disability claim is likely governed by ERISA.
ERISA is a complicated area of the law. At Dabdoub Law Firm, we focus our representation of clients with ERISA-governed disability claims and appeals. The firm has won cases where ERISA applies against insurance companies that have wrongly denied disability benefits. We represent clients across the country with ERISA disability claims.
Intent of ERISA
ERISA was intended to protect the interests of employees claiming benefits under an employee benefit plan. Unfortunately, the evolution of this law has made it difficult for disabled people to receive their disability benefits.
Importance of ERISA Appeals
There are several things to know about ERISA appeals. Here are a few:
- If you were denied disability benefits by an insurance company, you are required to appeal that decision before you can file a lawsuit;
- The insurance company is required by ERISA to give you at least 180 days to appeal a disability denial;
- Second appeals may be less than 180 days, so be careful with the timeframe;
- Your disability appeal the the insurance company may be your final chance to submit proof that you are disabled;
- If your appeal is denied and your file a lawsuit for disability benefits, the judge might be limited to reviewing only the documents and records the insurance company had when your appeal was denied.
Filing an ERISA Lawsuit for Disability Benefits
Litigation in ERISA cases is different than what you would typically expect. For example:
- You do not have a right to a jury trial. A final decision on your disability insurance benefits will be made by a judge;
- In many cases, the judge will only be able to review documents contained in the insurance company’s claim file;
- In many cases, there is no live witness testimony from you or your doctors;
- You do not get punitive damages for bad faith denial or any other damages other than your disability benefits and an award of attorney's fees.
Disability Insurance Companies Have Experienced Disability Insurance Lawyers. Shouldn’t You?
ERISA can be an unfair law. As a law firm created to focus on ERISA disability insurance cases, we have fought all major disability insurance companies and have won several major disability lawsuits.
We have been helping people get disability benefits from UNUM, MetLife, Hartford, Prudential, Northwestern Mutual, CIGNA, and other insurance companies for many years.
Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, we do not have to be located in your state to help. We help clients nationwide with:
- Submitting a disability insurance claim;
- Appealing a long-term disability denial;
- Negotiating a lump-sum settlement; or
- Filing a lawsuit against your disability insurance company.
Call for a free consultation with a disability attorney.