You have already made the right decision to search for a Long Term Disability lawyer. Your next step should be to contact a lawyer who can advise how you should proceed, or answer any questions you may have. Long Term Disability claims are complex, and require the expertise of a skilled litigator with extensive LTD experience. Be sure to at least consult with a lawyer before taking any steps on your own. There is no fee and no obligation.
Long Term Disability policies have different definitions of what it means to be disabled. The test for the first two years is usually whether you can perform your "own occupation", meaning the essential tasks of your job before you became disabled. Beyond two years, this usually changes to the more difficult "any occupation" test, meaning you must be disabled from any occupation for which you are reasonably suited having regard to your education, training, and experience to continue to receive benefits.
These definitions are NOT as difficult to meet as they sound. Insurers often unfairly apply the these terms to justify denial. A Long Term Disability lawyer will find weaknesses in the insurer's position, obtain additional records, and retain experts to prove you meet both the own occupation and any occupation tests of disability.
Yes. Disability can be physical, psychological, cognitive, or a combination. Unfortunately, claims are often denied for conditions such as depression and anxiety. These denials, however, are frequently weak and easily challenged by a Long Term Disability lawyer.
The timelines to appeal and commence a lawsuit are different. Even if you have missed the deadline to appeal, you still may be in time to start a lawsuit. There are strict deadlines that apply, however, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible from a Long Term Disability lawyer.
Sometimes it makes sense to appeal, such as when new medical information is available that was not part of your initial application. But more often than not, appeals fail. Keep in mind your appeal is to the same company that denied your claim. An appeal usually only results in delay, frustration, and a depletion of your savings. In most cases, it is better to commence a lawsuit without appealing. Lawsuit success rates are much higher than appeals.
No. More than 95% of Long Term Disability claims settle without having to go to court. In fact, LTD claims have a higher settlement rate, and settle much faster, than most other types of litigation.
Not all LTD benefits are taxable. If you do have a taxable plan, and a lawsuit results in a settlement, generally only payment of past disability benefits are taxed. If the settlement includes payment of benefits into the future, as most settlements do, that portion is not taxable.
In some circumstances unionized employees are prohibited from commencing a lawsuit, and must instead proceed in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. There are some exceptions. This is a complicated and evolving area of Long Term Disability law that requires legal advice. Michael is regularly consulted on this issue, and would be pleased to answer your questions.
Employers should not terminate your employment so long as you are disabled unless it can prove "undue hardship" or "frustration of contract". If you are terminated, your LTD benefits will continue so long as you remain disabled. You are also entitled to fair severance pay, often much more than the minimums outlined in the Employment Standards Act or offered by your employer.
Long Term Disability claims tend to move much faster than other types of litigation. Often settlements occur within a few months, but it can take a year or longer.
Virtually every situation is unique. For answers to your specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us for a fast no fee and no obligation consultation: