A disabling accident occurred every second in the United States in 2008, according to the National Safety Council. Disability insurance is in place to insure a person’s earned income against the risk that disability will make working impossible. Included aspects are paid sick leave, short-term disability benefits and long-term disability benefits.
Importance of Disability Insurance
Loss of income and inability to work can financially destroy an individual or family. According to a 2008 survey by American Payroll Association, 71% of American employees live from paycheck to paycheck. Disability insurance exists to ensure that an accident does not ruin everything an individual or family has worked for.
When a person buys a disability policy they expect the insurance company to live up to its obligations if he/she ever does become disable. This expectation is of utmost importance for wage earners who don’t have other wealth or financial holdings to fall back upon to support themselves and their loved ones if they become physically or mentally unable to work. It is particularly comforting to people to know that they have acted responsibly and protected themselves and their families if some unforeseen tragedy causes them to become disabled. Unfortunately, insurance companies all too frequently fail to live up to their obligations regarding disability policies.
Disability insurance can be provided by an employer or obtained by an individual. After a claim is filed, the disability insurance company has to determine the legitimacy of the claim by conducting a thorough investigation, especially when the claim is for long-term disability. The insurance company should use its investigation to determine in good faith if the insured is legitimately disabled and the claim should be paid. Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny legitimate claims. This is called bad faith insurance practice.
It is not at all uncommon to see an insurance company commit bad faith in processing and handling claims for benefits under a disability insurance policy. This is often seen when insurance companies conduct an investigation that is not designed to determine the truth but is instead solely designed to find a way to deny the claim.
Often times insurance companies will rely upon a report from a biased doctor (to whom they pay large sums of money) who has never even seen or examined the insured, even though numerous doctors who have actually treated and examined the insured on a regular basis say otherwise.
At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have also seen situations where an insurance company, while not contesting that a person is disabled, calculates the amount of monthly benefits the insured receives in an inaccurate or inappropriate manner. These tactics are illegal and should not be accepted. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we hold insurance companies responsible for these actions.
Insurance companies acting in bad faith are often guilty of:
- Denying a claim without reviewing critical sections of relevant medical records
- Denying a claim based on A contrary statement in the claim file
- Employing medical experts who specifically support claim denials
- Deliberately withholding specific medical information favorable to a finding of disability from their medical examiner
- Providing its medical examiner with a definition of disability that does not match state law or the definition in the disability policy itself
- Applying mass standards to an individual case
Heygood, Orr & Pearson represents victims of bad faith insurance
If an insurance company acts in bad faith when investigating and processing a disability insurance claim so that the insured party is deprived of deserved sums and financial security for his/her family, the insurance company can and should be held accountable for those actions. To hold the disability insurance company responsible, an insured can file an insurance bad faith lawsuit, utilizing a knowledgeable law firm with experience in the insurance field – which is exactly what Heygood, Orr & Pearson is.
If you think you may have been a victim of a disability insurance company treating you or processing your claim in bad faith, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has the resources and knowledge to guide you and protect your rights through the accident that prompted your disability claim, while obtaining the compensation necessary to establish your future financial security.