When your long term disability claim has been denied by the insurance carrier and you have already used all your appeal rights with the insurance company, you and your attorney will file a lawsuit in order to recover your past due benefits and to reinstate your future benefits. What happens next? Well, usually you and the insurance company will try to settle the case before the judge makes the final decision. Once you have arrived at this stage of the legal process, there are many issues that you should consider. The legal team at Tabak Law wants clients to be prepared for these potential issues, and understand how to respond. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the appeals process dealing with your disability claims, please call our office to speak to one of our Milwaukee disability lawyers.
One common issue is that the settlement will more than likely be a lump sum payment. Usually when resolving a long term disability claim, the insurance company will provide a specific amount of money in exchange for full resolution of the claim. This means that you will receive a lump sum of money, and you will not be eligible for any ongoing long term disability benefits. There are many things to consider when dealing with a lump sum payment. Obtaining proper legal counsel from a skilled disability lawyer will help you to determine if the settlement is adequate enough.
Determine the Value of Your Disability Case
The value of your case depends on the amount of monthly benefits and the number of months left on one’s claim. The long term disability insurance plan document can provide you with the correct information needed to calculate the amount of the benefit and the time period of the claim. Remember to pay attention to any benefit offsets, such as Social Security Disability benefits or other outside sources of income. Once you have calculated the value of your claim, you should look at the time value of money. You are basically converting a flow of ongoing monthly benefits into one lump sum. A discount is usually applied, due to the fact that you are getting paid upfront rather than on a monthly basis. A competent attorney should be able to help guide you through this issue and help you take a reasonable approach to solving this settlement dilemma.
Each side will evaluate the risk of not settling a claim and look at their probability of success. Once you know the value of your long term disability insurance claim, your lawyer should then discuss with you the chances of winning the case. Your lawyer’s experience and resources from similar cases will help increase your chances of a successful case. The insurance company and their attorney(s) will be doing the exact same thing. Having a realistic approach to the risks of both parties will only improve the odds of a proper settlement.
Keep All of the Potential Outcomes of Your Case in Mind
If the judge makes the final decision in a long term disability case, you will win or you will lose. This sounds pretty simple, but that is not the case. There are different types of wins and losses when dealing with these type of cases. For instance, the judge might order that only a portion of the back benefits be paid to the plaintiff. Another example, is that the judge sends the claim back through the insurance company for further evaluation before ordering any benefits to be paid out. The judge is extremely unlikely to order that future benefits be paid out immediately without any further evaluation from the insurance company. All of these issues are ones to discuss with your lawyer. Discussing and considering all these issues with your legal counsel will help you to prepare for all the possible outcomes from your case.
Try to Keep Your Settlement and Benefits Details Quiet
Usually all long term disability insurance settlements are confidential. You need to be prepared to keep all the details and terms of the agreement and settlement negotiations between you, your lawyer, your tax adviser and immediate family. Keeping things confidential is usually a requirement in order to settle the case before negotiations begin.
Tax consequences can emerge from your settlement. We are not tax advisers, and are not the best to give out tax advice, but we can advise you to speak to a tax expert about how your settlement options may affect your income taxes. It is always best to speak to a professional tax adviser to make sure that your case is resolved in the most advantageous way possible.
Consult with a Wisconsin Disability Attorney Today
Each and every long term disability case is different, so make sure that you go over the specifics of your case and any issues listed above with your attorney. Be sure to ask any questions you have before the settlement gets finalized. An experienced attorney will keep you informed of your rights and keep you aware of all the important aspects of your upcoming settlement. At Tabak Law, our staff always takes a personalized approach to each and everyone of our clients and their disability cases. We will promise to always look after your best interests and help guide you through this difficult legal process. We are never too busy to answer any of your questions, and we always make ourselves available to our clients. If you have questions regarding your disability case, or you are beginning the appeals process, please do not hesitate to call our office. Our skilled Wisconsin disability lawyers are prepared to answer your call for your free legal consultation.