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.