What are the benefits of settling an LTD claim?

For anyone who has struggled with an insurance company for disability benefits that have been denied or terminated, there will often be a range of additional “benefits”, both financial and non-monetary, when the case is ultimately settled. Here are some of the gains that a claimant may experience following the settlement of a Long Term Disability Claim.

Financial Peace of Mind:
A claimant and his or her family frequently face dire financial consequences when the claimant is disabled from working, and then deprived of the disability benefits on which they had expected to rely. A lump sum settlement of a disability claim brings the financial security of knowing that the individual and his or her family will be financially secure as they move forward.

Disability Benefits for the Future:
If a case does not settle and, instead, the litigation proceeds to trial, a Court cannot order disability benefits into the future. Rather, the Court’s award of disability benefits can only relate to past amounts owing (arrears). While a Court could declare that the individual is disabled and therefore should be reinstated on the insurance policy, benefits will not necessarily flow into the future if, for example, the insurance company then decides to, again, deny or terminate benefits. By settling one’s long-term disability benefits case prior to trial, the claimant can receive a lump sum payment that includes disability benefits for the future. This, of course, is often an attractive benefit of settling these types of cases prior to trial.

Re-Focusing on Healing:
Following the onset of a disability and then the denial or termination of disability benefits, an individual’s life will often become focused on a battle with the insurance company. Settling a claim allows the claimant to completely centre his or her efforts and energy on physical and mental healing. Without distraction, the individual can work on improving health so that, ideally and wherever possible, the claimant can accomplish a complete recovery and return to work.

Terminating the Relationship with the Insurance Company:
While receiving a lump sum payment from the insurance company may improve the claimant’s opinion of the insurance company, a person who settles a case with the insurance company is typically relieved to sever the relationship after the case settles. Finally, the claimant is no longer at the whim of the insurer. The insurance company can no longer, for example, request medical records or send the claimant to see physicians of the insurer’s choice at their discretion. It is little wonder that the termination of the relationship between insured and insurer is frequently met with contentment and relief on the part of the individual.

Increased Understanding of One’s Medical and Employable Status:

In the course of a long term disability case, one’s doctors are approached to provide their records, reports and opinions. Since the claimant’s disability has come under attack by the insurance company, the disability and medical information itself frequently become the focus of disability lawsuits and settlement discussions. So, in comparison with what may sometimes be rushed medical appointments, the litigation process often draws out and clarifies for the individual exactly what one’s doctors are saying about the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Similarly, the settlement of these cases often gives the individual clarity as to whether it is medically advisable to engage in one’s own occupation or even any occupation.

Closure and Validation:
Finally, after a sometimes lengthy struggle with an insurance company, a lump sum settlement can bring with it a sense of validation and closure. Great satisfaction comes from knowing that an insurance company that had, for so long, denied one’s legitimate entitlement to long term disability benefits, is now agreeing to pay the benefits in dispute and settle the case. To experience a “wrong” being corrected by a “right” (the settlement of a case) can be extremely rewarding.

Feeling Supported:
Where an individual is represented by an experienced, effective and compassionate lawyer, the client should feel a sense of support and encouragement in knowing that he or she was not alone throughout the litigation process. This is, in and of itself, helpful – especially after feeling “victimized” by an insurance company.

Conclusion:
When contemplating the potential settlement of a case, therefore, it is not just the monetary gains that will inevitably flow from this milestone. Rather, there are a host of additional benefits that the individual may experience as a new page is turned and the individual moves on to the next chapter of his or her life.

Maximizing the value of a long term disability settlement is a complex task, and one which requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. Jan Fishman is a Vancouver Disability Lawyer with the skill and knowledge to maximize a long term disability settlement.

Has your long term disability claim been terminated or denied? Contact Jan Fishman and put his experience to work for you.