People often wonder how a lawyer can help in a short-term disability claim. As part of our Ultimate Guide to Short-term Disability Benefits, I’ll explain some of the practical ways that a lawyer can help.
Free consultations for your short-term disability claim
First off, you don’t necessarily need to hire a lawyer to help with your claim. Many firms, ours included, offer free consultation services that can be the first push in the right direction. These free consultations can reveal a lot. During a free consultation, a lawyer can review your case. You might send in documents, or just tell them what’s going on. Either way, they can help you understand some of the real reasons your claim got denied. Knowing these can help you plan your strategy better.
Hiring a lawyer for your short-term disability claim
While you don’t always need a lawyer to help you with a short-term disability claim, they can be helpful if you’re dealing with a denial. Obviously, if you choose to hire a lawyer, they can do a lot more than they can in a free consultation.
Identifying problems with your claim
Typically, the lawyer will begin by getting a full copy of your claim file. This file is a goldmine of information and will shed light on your whole case. It includes everything the insurance company is working with — internal communications, documentation of any problems they have with you, independent doctors they have reviewing things you didn’t even know about!
The lawyer will take that information and identify any red flags from the insurance company’s perspective. Once the problems are identified, they can plan a strategy to eliminate the red flags and chance the insurance company’s mind.
Lawyers can also order records from other sources more efficiently than you might be able to alone. Whether it’s from your regular doctor, hospitals, or treatment providers, the lawyer can get these documents with ease. This is because the lawyer can ask specific questions and give more direction as to what information they need. Remember, they have seen the entire claim file, so they can confidently request exactly what they will need to get your claim approved.
Another area that a lawyer can help with is communicating with the insurance company. If you’re on an approved claim, you still might have to talk to them directly. But if you’ve been denied, your lawyer can handle all of the stressful communication that you would have to deal with otherwise. They can also speak with your employer on your behalf, to some extent.
Guidance through appeals
Finally, your lawyer will be able to guide you through the appeals process. There is a relatively standard process for internal appeals that a good short-term disability lawyer will be very familiar with. The final appeal can be different depending on the insurance company. Your case might go through the court system, or to an arbitrator or hearing. Either way, your lawyer will stick with you through to the end. Of course, if you’re in a union, you may have to go through them instead of hiring a lawyer. But, your lawyer can help explain the process to you.
Next Steps — Get your free book
Click the image below to download our free book — A Beginner’s Guide to Disability Insurance Claims in Canada.