You have made the right decision to search for a 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.
LTD policies have different definitions of what it means to be disabled. For the first two years, the test is usually whether you can perform your "own occupation", meaning the essential tasks of your job before you became disabled. At the two year mark, this usually changes to the more difficult "any occupation" test, meaning if you can work in any occupation for which you are reasonably suited having regard to your education, training and experience, you no longer qualify.
These and other definitions in your policy are often unfairly interpreted and applied to justify denial. A skilled 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.
The timelines to appeal and commence a lawsuit are usually 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, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Michael can advise you on this issue without fee and without obligation.
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. In most cases, it is better to commence a lawsuit without appealing.
No. More than 95% of cases settle without having to go to court. In fact, Long Term Disability lawsuits 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 without fee or obligation.
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:
Don’t let the insurance company get away with an unfair denial of your claim. Call now to speak directly with Michael, or complete our confidential form for a quick response, usually within 15 minutes. Michael will guide you through the claims and appeals process, and answer any LTD questions you may have, free of charge.