All too often, an unexpected disability leaves you to cope not only with a new set of physical limitations, but also an overwhelming fight for your rights against big insurance companies-- not to mention the financial turmoil that comes with having no income and receiving no benefits.
When you purchase long-term disability coverage, or any other insurance, you probably assume that the insurance company will act in good faith when you file a claim. Unfortunately, an insurance company's first obligation is not to their clients but to their shareholders, and they may choose to increase profits for shareholders by denying legitimate claims, delaying payment for claims, creating confusing hurdles for clients to jump through in a claims process, canceling policies for expensive treatments, and offering awards and incentives to claims adjusters for denying claims.
Know Your Rights and Stay Strong
Insurance companies have teams of lawyers and claims adjusters who make it their business to make the whole process difficult, confusing and frustrating. It's a sad state of affairs, but you will often need to know your rights and remain persistent if you want your rightful claim to be approved. Moreover, they are relying on you to get frustrated and quit. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in bad faith lawsuits will help you to understand your rights and give you the encouragement to keep fighting.
While You Wait
Your other bills, expenses and obligations won't wait for your insurance claim to go be paid. If you already have a budget, sit down and examine it carefully for places where you can cut your expenses while you wait. If you don't have a budget, now is the time to create one. A budget will help to avoid overdraft fees from your financial institution, ensure that you have enough money throughout the month for various bills, and give you a full picture of your financial situation. A budget will also keep you from giving in to a small or partial settlement.
The Do's and Don'ts of Filing a Claim
By ensuring that you have done everything correctly on your end, you can avoid many of the traps that insurance companies create. As you file your claim:
- Answer any request from your insurance company quickly. You cannot afford to miss deadlines, as doing so may cause your claim to be denied.
- Keep a record of every interaction, including letters sent to and from your insurance company, as well as detailed notes of phone conversations with insurance representatives.
- Let yourself be pressured into an independent medical exam without checking your policy. Your insurance company may send you to a physician that they have hired, and this exam may be used to deny your claim.
- Talk about your claim online or speak about your disability in a public forum, including social networking sites. Insurance companies monitor these sites, and can use the information they find there against you.
Despite Your Best Efforts
Sometimes, even despite your best efforts, you may find your claim denied due to bad faith on the part of the insurance company. Insurance companies are counting on you to be frustrated and intimidated by their complex policies and claims processes, as this will allow them to deny your rightful claim. Your best option may be to hire a bad faith lawyer who can help fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Sokolove Law today to speak to one of our case managers, who can advise you of your rights and options.