Filing a ERISA Disability Lawsuit in Clarksburg
There is good news and bad news about filing a lawsuit to obtain disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The good news is that ERISA provides a reliable means for employees who have been denied disability benefits to file a claim in federal court to receive those benefits.
However, the bad news is that the law can make it difficult for employees to win against the insurance company. For the best chance of success, it is advisable to obtain and submit evidence to support the claim as early in the process as possible. An experienced ERISA attorney could help collect evidence and present a persuasive argument in favor of awarding benefits.
What Makes ERISA Claims Different
ERISA does not govern all claims for disability benefits. This federal law only comes into play when an employee files a claim for disability benefits under a private insurance plan provided or supported by an employer. If a disability program is offered to employees and advertised at work but the employer is not involved with providing coverage, claims may not be governed by ERISA.
When ERISA applies to a disability plan, the law requires the insurer to provide information about coverage and how to file a claim. In addition, ERISA guarantees a right to appeal denials in most cases. However, Clarksburg employees are required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a ERISA disability lawsuit.
Exhausting Administrative Remedies
Employees seeking disability benefits must appeal a denial or discontinuance of benefits through the insurance company before filing an ERISA disability lawsuit in Clarksburg. The procedure for appealing within a company will vary according to the terms set forth in the policy and the insurance company’s procedures.
Many claimants in Clarksburg find it helpful to work with a knowledgeable ERISA lawyer even before it is time to file a lawsuit. Evidence to support a showing of disability and eligibility for benefits should be presented to the insurance company so that it is part of the record before the case proceeds to court.
Challenges with ERISA Disability Lawsuits
It is wise for Clarksburg claimants filing a ERISA disability lawsuit to consult an attorney experienced with these challenges posed by pursuing ERISA claims in federal court. To begin with, the standard of review often favors the insurance companies. While it is possible to have a judge review a case from scratch on the merits, in most cases, the judge is only able to reverse a denial if the insurance company acted unreasonably in denying benefits.
An ERISA lawsuit is not only limited to evidence on the record but also judged entirely on the written information submitted by the parties with no oral argument or testimony from the claimant. It is vital to present information to support the claim as persuasively as possible.
The court is also limited in the remedies available under ERISA. While the court may award past-due benefits, it cannot require the company to pay benefits in the future. Instead, the case may be remanded back to the insurer for another review.
Let a Clarksburg Attorney Help You File a Clarksburg ERISA Disability Lawsuit
For the best chance of success, it is a good idea to consult a knowledgeable legal advocate long before filing a ERISA disability lawsuit in Clarksburg. An experienced advisor could help build a record that increases the likelihood of a court reversing the insurance company’s decision.
It is also essential to be mindful of deadlines while filing a disability lawsuit. Violating the statute of limitations could provide grounds for dismissal of the claim. For help filing a lawsuit or any part of the appeals process, consult with an experienced attorney.