Expert Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys Serving All of Boston
As a Boston Insurance bad faith lawyer, you must work in a lot of emotionally fraught situations. When long-term disability insurance companies refuse to honor the commitments they make to their policyholders, the results for ordinary people and their families can be dire.
Fortunately, there’s always something that can be done. The legal doctrine of bad faith gives you a means of challenging a wrongful delay or unreasonable denial of monthly disability insurance benefits.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of an unreasonable or wrongful delay or denial, this post will tell you all you need to know about rectifying the situation.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
The doctrine of bad faith applies in all industries, not just insurance. The concept comes from the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which requires parties to a contract to allow other parties to enjoy the benefits of the contract.
In the context of long-term disability insurance, there are a few different types of conduct that may be considered bad faith. These include:
- Denying a claim without first conducting a proper, thorough investigation.
- Failing to pay benefits in a timely manner following the approval of a claim without offering a valid reason for doing so.
- Requiring unnecessary documentation before releasing monthly benefits payments, particularly where there are multiple requests like this that could have been issued at one time.
- Making misleading or false statements to a policyholder about the coverage their policy offers.
- Terminating benefits prematurely without adequate explanation or notice.
- Refusing to engage in meaningful negotiations or settlement discussions.
Of course, it’s difficult to apply these general examples to a specific situation. To figure out for sure whether you may have been the victim of insurance bad faith, you’ll need to consult with an expert long-term disability insurance attorney.
How a Boston Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer Can Help You
The insurance bad faith attorneys at DarrasLaw help Bostonians with all kinds of issues with their long-term disability insurance policies. Our role extends far beyond just fighting battles in court; we’ll walk you through every stage of the dispute process with your insurance company, always remaining focused on emerging with the best possible deal for you.
Our work for you can begin as soon as you receive an adverse benefit determination from your long-term disability insurance provider. When you visit us for a free initial consultation, we’ll analyze your policy, your claim, and the notice of denial from your insurance company, highlighting any inconsistencies in the reasoning the insurer used to justify withholding monthly benefits. We’ll then use these to prepare and send a demand letter to your insurer, noting any issues with their decision and insisting on payment of all outstanding benefits along with a guarantee of benefits payments going forward.
If this is unsuccessful, it’s time to consider pursuing an insurance bad faith lawsuit. If we decide to proceed with legal action, we’ll get to work on filing suit in state court and building a case against your insurance provider. This process will involve gathering evidence (such as your medical, financial, and occupational records), discovery, and potentially depositions.
Before going to court, there will be opportunities to settle the dispute through negotiation with your insurer. It’s generally preferable to arrive at a solution this way, as it saves time, hassle, and money for everyone involved. However, if we can’t come up with a compromise through bilateral negotiation, we won’t hesitate to argue your case in front of a judge and jury.
The Law on Insurance Bad Faith in Massachusetts
The law on bad faith business practices in the state of Massachusetts comes from Chapter 93A, Section 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The provision outlaws “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” Massachusetts courts also recognize a common law cause of action under the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.
Does ERISA Apply to Insurance Bad Faith Claims?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a body of federal legislation that sets out minimum standards and protections for providers and recipients of certain employer-sponsored benefits, including short- and long-term disability insurance. So, if yours is an employer-sponsored group disability insurance policy, ERISA contains a number of provisions that will be relevant to you if you want to challenge a wrongful denial of your claim or an unreasonable delay of benefits payments.
One of the key ERISA rules in relation to long-term disability insurance is that claimants must challenge any unfavorable benefit determinations through a timelyn administrative appeals process. If that process does not resolve the issue, claimants must then pursue a special type of federal lawsuit. Insurance bad faith lawsuits like those we’ve discussed here are therefore not an option for you if your disability group insurance policy is governed by ERISA.
It’s important to note that not all employer-sponsored long-term disability insurance policies are ERISA policies. For example, if you work for a government agency or a religious organization, your employer-provided policy may be exempt from ERISA. To find out for sure whether the legislation will apply in your case, you’ll have to speak with a top -class Boston insurance bad faith attorney.
Getting the Help You Need Following a Delay or Denial of Your Claim
Developing an illness or injury that keeps you out of work is a highly distressing experience; the last thing you want is to contend with financial catastrophe because of bad faith conduct by your disability insurer. Don’t let your long-term disability insurance provider take advantage of you.
Contact DarrasLaw today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our expert insurance bad faith attorneys. We’ll provide a free initial policy or claim analysis to highlight any potentially wrongful conduct by your insurer and get your legal challenge moving.