Skilled Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers in Seattle, WA
Home to the world’s first Starbucks and the headquarters of online retail giant Amazon, Seattle is known across the world as a hub for technology, industry, and culture. Unfortunately, disability is as big an issue here as anywhere else in the United States.
If you submit a long-term disability insurance claim in the city and receive a wrongful delay or unreasonable denial from your insurer, you may require the assistance of a Seattle insurance bad faith lawyer. Only a specialist long-term disability attorney will be able to effectively deal with the tactics of your insurance company.
This article covers much of what you need to know in detail.
Do You Need a Seattle Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer?
Disability insurance provides financial support to policyholders who become unable to work due to a physical or mental disability or injury and replaces a percentage of prior monthly income. These policies can be purchased individually or granted as a benefit of employment. In the former case, any dispute you enter with your insurer may be settled through an insurance bad faith lawsuit.
Long-term disability insurance companies don’t always act in good faith when it comes to paying out on monthly disability insurance claims. They may deny claims unnecessarily, delay the approval of monthly benefits, or offer inadequate settlements. If you feel that your disability insurance claim has been handled unfairly, you may be able to pursue a bad faith insurance claim against your disability insurer.
A top-class Seattle insurance bad faith lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Our long-term disability attorneys are skilled in handling cases involving disability insurance claims, both in and out of the courtroom and for group or individual policies.
How Does a Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit Work?
To succeed in a Seattle bad faith insurance lawsuit related to a disability policy, you must show that your insurer has acted in bad faith by delaying or unreasonably denying your monthly disability insurance benefits. Your long-term disability attorneys will have to show there was no reasonable basis for the refusal to pay out, highlighting issues like a failure to properly investigate a claim.
Should your legal action succeed, you will be entitled to various kinds of damages. The court may compel your insurance company to pay you the monthly income replacement benefits you have missed out on, as well as those you’ll be entitled to going forward. A judge may also order general damages for any emotional distress you’ve endured and interest on all past due benefits. However, punitive damages, which plaintiffs in other states may seek if the conduct of their insurer was particularly egregious, are typically not available in civil cases in the state of Washington.
What To Do When Your Disability Insurance Company Makes Contact During the Claims Process?
After you file a long-term disability insurance claim, your insurance carrier may reach out to you to discuss some aspect of your filing or your disabling condition. Be careful if you find yourself in this situation, as many insurance company representatives try to use these interactions to glean information that may damage claims.
If your insurance company makes contact with you over the phone without scheduling the call first, be sure to document the conversation. Record the time and date of the call, its duration, the name of the representative you spoke with, and the issues you discussed.
It’s crucial to remember that you cannot misrepresent information to an insurance company representative; doing so may be a serious offense. It’s much better to share potentially damaging information about your claim than to deliberately mislead your insurance company, as evidence of dishonesty could defeat your claim entirely.
How Bad Faith Insurance Litigation Differs From a Group or Employer Sponsored ERISA Disability Appeal
If you purchased your insurance policy as an individual, without financial help from your employer, a bad faith insurance lawsuit will most likely be the method you use to challenge an unfavorable outcome. However, if yours is an employer-sponsored policy, this avenue will likely be unavailable to you.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which governs employer-provided disability insurance plans, mandates a timely appeals process for long-term disability insurance claimants. Instead of taking your insurer straight to federal court, you must first compile an administrative record of all the medical, vocational, and financial evidence that supports your case, as well as any legal precedent that is relevant in your jurisdiction, and submit it to your insurer for consideration.
If your coverage provider denies your claim again at this point, you may then sue them in federal court. However, ERISA disability lawsuits differ from traditional court proceedings in a number of important ways. Firstly, you cannot introduce any new evidence in court that did not appear in your initial claim filing or your administrative record. There is no jury, and your lawyer doesn’t get the opportunity to introduce or cross-examine witnesses. Instead, the federal judge in the case analyzes the available documentation from both sides and reaches a verdict on that basis.
If you’re considering appealing a long-term disability insurance claim but you’re not sure whether ERISA applies to your policy, you should consult with a seasoned expert long-term disability attorney. It’s important not to waste any time here, as there is a strict time limit (usually six months) on ERISA disability appeal filings.
How a Seattle Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer Can Help You
If you feel that your individually-purchased long-term disability insurance claim has been handled unfairly, a skilled Seattle insurance bad faith lawyer will be an invaluable resource for you. Without a specialist long-term disability attorney in your corner, you run a much greater risk of exploitation by your insurance provider.
Contact us today to schedule a free initial disability insurance consultation, including a free claim assistance, policy analysis, or assistance with your appeal. Remember, the more quickly you start the process of appealing a wrongful disability insurance claim denial, the better your outcomes are likely to be.