Florida Disability Attorneys
Dabdoub Law Firm Working to Get You the Disability Benefits You Need
Our Florida disability attorneys are based in South Florida. We have extensive experience helping clients throughout the state. We know particular issues of Florida law and can help guide you through your claim, appeal, or lawsuit.
Most disability insurance claims are governed by a federal law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This law sets particular rules for disability insurance companies and for people trying to obtain their disability benefits.
I Have Been Denied, What Now?
The first step in an ERISA disability benefits claim is to file an appeal. Usually, after a denial or termination, you have 180 days to submit an appeal. It is important to use this opportunity wisely. Most likely, this will be your last chance to offer any evidence in support of your claim.
An appeal directly refutes the reasoning the disability insurance company gave for denying or terminating your disability benefits. You should include all of your relevant medical records and as much supportive information from your doctors as possible.
An experienced ERISA attorney can help determine what evidence you should submit. They can also keep an eye out for any rule-breaking the disability insurance company may have done in the claim review process.
What Happens if My Appeal is Denied?
If your appeal is denied, you may have the option for a second appeal. More likely, however, your next step will be to file suit in federal court. It is highly advisable that you have an attorney at this stage. The rules for federal ERISA litigation are detailed and strictly enforced. A minor mistake could ruin your claim.
What Makes a Case in Florida Different?
Unlike some states, like California, Florida has not attempted to make the law more favorable for people claiming disability. In Florida, an insurance company is permitted to include language in its policy granting itself “discretion.” If a policy contains a discretionary provision, then the insurance company’s decision to deny or grant disability benefits will only be overturned by the judge if the judge finds the denial to be completely unreasonable.
Discretion makes it more difficult for a disabled person filing a lawsuit in court. It is a high standard to meet.
Although Florida law does not ban discretionary clauses, certain policies do not contain them. Whether your policy has such a provision could greatly affect the outcome of your disability insurance claim or case.
Our attorneys know exactly what to look for in your policy. We are constantly working to challenge what insurance companies claim to be discretionary language in an effort to make our clients’ cases stronger.
In a recent case we handled in the Middle District of Florida, Prudential claimed to have a discretionary clause in its policy. We challenged the policy, arguing that Prudential had failed to put in the required language. We won the issue. The judge ruled in our favor and it greatly affected the outcome for our client.
Even if your case is governed by the less favorable standard because your policy contains a discretionary clause, our Florida disability attorneys know how to work within that standard and maximize your case.
For example, we know that even when there is discretion in the policy, the insurance company is still required to produce certain documents and information during the course of litigation. Insurance companies routinely argue that they are not required to do so, but the law is not in their favor.
Our firm knows Florida law and knows how the courts treat ERISA disability insurance cases. The primary focus of our practice is ERISA litigation and long term disability insurance law. Our experienced Florida disability attorneys can make sure you are taking full advantage of any disability benefits the law offers you in your case.