Long-Term Disability and ERISA—What You Need to Know

This Federal law protects the rights of employees in a range of benefits beyond just retirement plans

In spite of its name, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) extends to a variety of employee benefit plans offered by private employers. If you are covered by an employer plan and become disabled and unable to work on or off the job, you have certain rights. However, ERISA is rather complex and has undergone many changes that can make filing a lawsuit complicated.  Peter T. Skeie is an employee benefits attorney in Nashville, Tennessee who can help you pursue the benefits you deserve.

Why skilled legal assistance is essential

Since the inception of ERISA, many of the rules pertaining to long-term disability (LTD) protection have changed, and the system now leans more toward efficient processing and less toward fairness. A federal appeal once provided claimants with an opportunity to receive a fair hearing by moving outside of the jurisdiction of the standard claim and appeal processes. Now the courts rely heavily on initial claim and appeals information provided by the insurance company when making their decision. Some of the current concerns are as follows:

  • Jury trials are no longer available:  Judges now decide all ERISA LTD cases, typically based only on the evidence submitted in the original claim.
  • New evidence cannot always be introduced:  Where ERISA rules required insurance carriers to provide an explanation for its decision, complete with documentation used as the basis for that decision, the courts typically use the administrative appeals file as the entire basis for their decision.
  • Standards of proof can be difficult to meet:  An effective claimant lawsuit must prove that the claims administrator made an arbitrary and capricious determination in denying the claim. This can be difficult to prove when a court simply looks for abuse of discretion based on the insurance company records.
  • Claimants can no longer seek damages:  When a wrongful denial results in monetary damages to the claimants, they cannot pursue those damages as part of a federal lawsuit. In fact, even if you can show that the insurance company willfully used unfair or illegal practices in determining your claim, you are prohibited from pursuing punitive damages.

These issues require the skills of our experienced employee benefits attorneys determine if you have a case that can be successfully fought in federal court—before you expend time, effort, and money on a potentially uphill battle.

Experienced Nashville, Tennessee employee benefits attorney helps you get the benefits you deserve

Because ERISA is a complex law, it is vital that you consult experienced Nashville employee benefits lawyers if you are denied the long term disability benefits you believe you deserve.

Tennessee ERISA lawyer Peter T. Skeie represents workers throughout Tennessee in ERISA LTD claims. For any legal claim related to this law,  please call 615-313-9111 or contact the firm online to schedule a free initial consultation.