My ERISA disability insurance claim was denied. What do I do next?
Once your ERISA claim is denied, you can file a federal lawsuit to get your benefits. However, ERISA laws require that you submit an appeal to the plan administrator (or insurance company), within 180 days of the date of the denial letter. If an administrative appeal is not submitted timely, your right to sue will be lost. That does not mean you must rush with a knee-jerk reaction to request a review.
You would never think of having a trial on a disability issue without calling witnesses: your doctor, maybe a co-worker, employer, friends, or family who knows you best. Yet, that is exactly what you will do if your appeal is not properly prepared and presented. That is because in most ERISA disability cases, once your lawsuit is filed, the only evidence that the court will consider is that contained in the Administrative Record, which is the claim file put together by the insurance company. Your appeal is your last opportunity to put your case together.
The first thing you should do is to make sure you fully understand the reasons for the denial. Once you understand what is missing or lacking, you will need to gather evidence to address the deficiency. Then gather supporting information - witness statements, doctor’s reports, or anything else you would want the judge to see at trial. Submit your appeal with all your evidence in a timely manner. My best advice, however, is to seek the help of an experienced ERISA disability insurance lawyer. For help with filing your claim or administrative appeal, contact Ocala ERISA disability insurance lawyer at C J Henry Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation.