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Recently in Disability Settlements Category

By Janice Grevler,  B.A., L.L.B.

Associate Lawyer, Share Lawyers

 

Those who have struggled with their insurance companies for months, or even years, in pursuit of disability benefits that had been denied or terminated will often experience a range of additional "benefits", both financial and non-monetary, when their cases are ultimately settled.   Here is a list of some of the types of gains that our clients have told us they have experienced following the settlement of their Disability Claims:

 

  • Financial Peace of Mind:

A claimant and his or her family frequently face dire financial consequences when the claimant is disabled from working and, then, deprived of the disability benefits on which they had expected to rely. A lump sum settlement of a disability claim brings the financial security of knowing that the individual and his or her family will be financially secure as they move forward. 

 

  • Disability Benefits for the Future: 

If a case does not settle and, instead, the litigation proceeds to trial (Court), a Court cannot order disability benefits into the future. Rather, the Court's award of disability benefits can only relate to past amounts owing (arrears). While a Court could declare that the individual is disabled and therefore should be reinstated on the insurance policy, future benefits will not necessarily flow into the future if, for example, the insurance company then decides to, again, deny or terminate benefits. By settling one's long-term disability benefits case prior to trial, the claimant can receive a lump sum payment that includes disability benefits for the future. This, of course, is often an attractive benefit of settling these types of cases prior to trial. 

 

  • Re-Focusing on Healing:

Following the onset of a disability and then the denial or termination of disability benefits, an individual's life will often become focused on his/her battle with the insurance company. The settlement of one's case allows the claimant to completely centre his/her efforts and energy on physical and mental healing. Without distraction, the individual can work on improving his/her health so that, ideally and wherever possible, he/she can accomplish a complete recovery and return to work.

 

  • Terminating One's Relationship with the Insurance Company:

While receiving a lump sum payment from one's insurance company may improve one's opinion of the insurance company (albeit slightly), the individual who settles his case with the insurance company is typically relieved to sever the relationship after the case settles. Finally, he is no longer at the whim of the insurer. The insurance company can no longer, for example, request his medical records or send him to see physicians of the insurer's choice at their discretion. It is little wonder that the termination of the relationship between insured and insurer is frequently met with contentment and relief on the part of the individual.

 

  • Increased Understanding of One's Medical and Employable Status:

In the course of a long-term disability case, one's doctors are approached to provide their records, reports and opinions. Since the individual's disability has come under attack by the insurance company, the disability and medical information itself frequently become the focus of disability lawsuits and settlement discussions. So, in comparison with what may sometimes be rushed medical appointments, the litigation process often draws out and clarifies for the individual exactly what one's doctors are saying about his/her diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Similarly, the settlement of these cases often gives the individual clarity as to whether it is medically advisable to engage in one's own occupation or even any occupation. 

 

  • >Closure and Validation:

Finally, after a sometimes lengthy struggle with one's insurance company, a lump sum settlement can bring with it a sense of validation and closure. Great satisfaction comes from knowing that an insurance company that had, for so long, denied one's legitimate entitlement to long-term disability benefits, is now agreeing to pay the benefits in dispute and settle the case. To experience a "wrong" being corrected by a "right" (the settlement of a case) is, our clients have said, extremely rewarding!!

 

  • Feeling Supported:

Where an individual is represented by an experienced, effective and compassionate law firm, she/he should feel a sense of support and encouragement in knowing that she/he was not alone throughout the litigation process. This, we have heard from clients, is in and of itself helpful, especially after feeling "victimized" by an insurance company.

 

When contemplating the potential settlement of a case, therefore, it is not just the monetary gains that will inevitably flow from this milestone. Rather, there are a host of additional benefits that the individual may experience...as a new page is turned and the individual moves on to the next chapter of his or her life.

 

Has your disability insurance claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you.

 

All initial consultations with our lawyers are free and there are no fees until we win your case.

By Steven Muller LL.B, J.D, LL.M.

Vice-President, Share Lawyers 

Often questions arise at the conclusion of a long-term disability action or motor vehicle claim as to how to ensure long-term financial security. Asking the right questions from your financial advisor and accountant is very important. For some disabled persons who have concluded a settlement or are granted an award from the court, the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a useful way to grow their settlement and ensure financial security.The RDSP is a tax-sheltered savings tool that can be used by disabled persons themselves, through their parents or legal guardians. Similar to an RESP, contributions to the RDSP are not tax deductible but attract matching grants in the form of a Canadian Disability Savings Grant (CDSG). The growth of investments within the RDSP is not taxed. The grants and investment gains within the plan are taxed in the hands of the beneficiary when withdrawn.

RDSPs are available to individuals ages 59 or younger who are eligible to receive the Federal disability tax credit. The maximum CDSG grant through Ottawa is $3500.00 in an RDSP per year provided that the beneficiary's family income is $75,769.00 or less. If the family income is over that amount, one dollar for every one dollar contributed to a maximum of $1000.00 per year is granted. The lifetime contribution limit on putting money in an RDSP is $200,000.00 and the lifetime maximum grant money available is $70,000.00.

 

The deadline for contributing to an RDSP account and getting the matching Canadian Disability Savings Grants (CDSG) for 2008 has been extended to March 2, 2009. Two institutions offer RSDP accounts: Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal.

 

Where you are disabled from a car accident or have an illness like MS or Parkinson's and are in receipt of the disability tax credit through the Federal Government, the RDSP can be used as a way to save up for adaptive technology, home care or future financial security.

 

NOTE:  Before investing in a RDSP or any other investment, proper investment advice should be obtained as to whether it can benefit you in your particular circumstances, as it may not be applicable in all circumstances, and other rules, regulations and conditions may apply.

 

 

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