Professional Counsel for Tennessee Life and Disability Insurance Claimants
Insurance dispute attorneys provide strong advocacy when personal tragedy happens in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Jackson
Life insurance and disability insurance should provide some financial comfort when someone dies or suffers a disabling injury or illness. Family members rely on insurance proceeds to keep the bills paid and to start life again. Anyone who is disabled needs the proceeds to pay for their health care costs and daily living expenses so they will not be a burden on family and friends.
The Tennessee life and disability insurance attorneys at Gilbert McWherter Scott Bobbitt PLC, help families and victims in Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Jackson, and across Tennessee get their full benefits. In death cases, we explain who can claim the life insurance proceeds and what benefits are allowed. In disability cases, we fight to get the right benefits for professionals and employees. In both life and disability cases, our lawyers are ready to contest any denial of benefits or reduction in benefits. We are ready because we have been helping Tennessee residents for a combined total of over 80 years.
Life insurance issues
Loved ones take out life insurance policies to make sure their families can pay for the funeral, keep up the mortgage and provide for family members when they are gone. Most insurance policies pay a flat sum on the death of the policyholder.
Insurance companies may try to deny payment on the following grounds:
- The premiums were not paid.
- There was a misstatement or omission in the application. Insurance companies often try this tactic if the person died from a medical condition that the company thinks should have been disclosed on the application for insurance. For example, an insurance company may argue a smoker who died of lung cancer never informed the insurance company that the insured person smoked.
- The company may claim the death was a suicide. Many insurance policies deny benefits if someone took their own life.
Our Tennessee life and disability insurance attorneys work to show premiums were paid, that the insurance company was properly informed or that the omission is not a defense, and that deaths were not suicidal. In some cases, we also argue the burden was on the insurance company to conduct a full examination. When insurance companies refuse to pay benefits that clearly apply, we even bring claims for bad faith damages against the insurer.
Disability insurance issues
Disability insurance pays benefits when someone becomes disabled. They are in addition to any government benefits such as workers’ compensation or Social Security because the worker or employer pays premiums to get the disability benefits. Many employees have disability insurance through their employer. Professionals, such as doctors and accountants, and anyone who runs their own business, can get disability insurance if they pay their own premiums.
Disability contracts usually fall into two categories – individual and group.
Individual disability insurance
Generally people who run their own business purchase this insurance. There are several key issues our lawyers review to make sure disabled applicants are getting all they deserve:
- The type of benefit in the contract. Benefits can include income to pay the insured a monthly benefit, overhead insurance to pay for business expenses, and credit insurance to pay mortgage payments and car bills.
- Own/Any Occupation. Own occupation disability insurance pays if the business owner can no longer perform the type of work he/she was doing prior to disability. Any occupation disability insurance pays only if the business owner cannot do any type of work. It is easier for an insured to qualify for benefits under an own occupation policy.
- Length of payment. The contract determines whether the payouts are for a definite period of time, such as five years, or for the life of the insured.
- Disability defined. The insurance company will often send the insured to get an independent medical exam to determine if the insured meets the disability definition in the contract. Applicants who suffer soft-tissue injures are likely be sent for an independent medical examination to see if the person really cannot work. Our Tennessee life and disability insurance attorneys have the skills to contest denials based on lack of disability.
Here the insured gets their insurance through the company they work for. Generally, just being an employee qualifies the worker for disability benefits. Because the insurance company is insuring a broad range of workers, it tries to limit its risks. Some of the ways it tries do this, and which The Firm contests, include:
- Limiting the duration of benefits. Many group polices pay benefits if the employee cannot do his/her own occupation during just the first two years. To get money past the first two years, the worker has to show he/she could not do any occupation based on his/her skill set. Some medical conditions, such as chronic pain, may be limited to a specific time period.
- Offset. Group policies generally offset disability benefits by the amount of government benefits the employee is getting.
- ERISA. Most group policy claims are controlled by ERISA. Filing a claim through ERISA is different than the typical state court proceeding. Our Tennessee life and disability insurance attorneys understand the complexities and dangers of ERISA claims.
A note about ERISA, the Employee Income Retirement Security Act of 1974. This Act protects only employees who are covered by the act. Most disability protections come directly from the terms of the insurance contract. Our Tennessee life and disability insurance attorneys understand the complexities of ERISA and know the relevant laws. We have extensive experience negotiating and litigating disability contracts. Sometimes we can negotiate fair lump sum settlements for clients who do not want to wait for monthly payouts.
Get help from a Tennessee attorney for full benefits when misfortune or death occurs
The Gilbert Firm fights for anyone or any business who suffered harm that is covered by an insurance policy. We help residents of Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Jackson, and across Tennessee get prompt payment for their claims. When you pay your premiums, you deserve to have the insurance company uphold their end of the bargain. To review your case with an experienced Tennessee life and disability insurance lawyer, please call 1.888.354.FIRM or complete our contact form.