Our Disability Lawyers in Washington Can Assist With Your Claim
Disabilities affect millions of people in the United States and here in Washington. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show almost a quarter of residents in our state have a disability. Obtaining gainful employment is a difficult or impossible prospect for some of these residents. In fact, 33 percent of disabled Washington residents have difficulty performing work functions.
Private insurance companies and select government agencies can provide benefits to disabled individuals who are unable to work. Our disability lawyers in Washington state know that disability benefits are generally difficult to obtain, whether through a private insurance company or the federal government.
Tucker Law Group offers nationwide representation for ERISA claims and assistance for other types of claims. We can offer help if you are appealing your disability claim with a private insurer or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
How We Help
Disability Insurance Claims
Group Disability Insurance and ERISA Claims
Private employers may offer disability insurance through a group plan. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs certain benefit plans offered by private employers. Employers have certain responsibilities under ERISA. For instance, your employer must provide information on how your policy works and must notify you of any important changes to your policy.
If you file a claim under a policy governed by ERISA, and you receive a denial of benefits, then your policy determines what may happen next. You can file an appeal, and exhaust the appeals process, in an attempt to claim your benefits.
You should check out our ERISA FAQ page for more information on this important federal law. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have questions about your rights under ERISA.
Individual Disability Insurance Policies and Appeals
Individual disability insurance claims work differently than claims for group policies. ERISA does not cover individual disability insurance policies. This means state law is responsible for managing the outcome of your claim. Much like a group policy, your individual policy determines the steps for appealing a denied claim.
State law protects policyholders from “insurance bad faith,” where an insurer fails to uphold the terms of a policy. Insurance bad faith tactics could include:
- Failing to make payments in a reasonably prompt manner
- Refusing to provide important information on a policy
- Failing to investigate a claim
- Denying valid disability insurance claims
Washington state law requires insurance providers to act in good faith while handling your claim. Your insurer must investigate your claim and provide benefits if your claim is valid.
It can be difficult for the layman to determine whether an insurer operated in bad faith, as the investigative process for approving or denying a claim is notoriously opaque. You should contact an experienced disability attorney if you believe your insurer operated in bad faith while handling your claim.
Disability Claims and Appeals in Washington State
If you are filing an appeal for an ERISA policy, then you must exhaust the appeals process before you can file a lawsuit in federal court.
However, you should be wary of beginning the appeals process without a lawyer. The guidelines for evidence and procedural requirements may prove difficult to navigate. For instance, you only have 180 days to appeal a denied claim for benefits.
During this time, you would need to compile as much more evidence as possible for your claim to succeed. There are also procedural requirements and deadlines your attorney can assist with during your appeal.
After you exhaust your options under the appeals process, you may be able to sue the insurance provider for benefits in federal court. Your lawsuit would go before a judge, without a jury. You would only be able to obtain the benefits denied by the insurer if your case succeeded.
Individual policies operate under Washington state law. This means you may have more options during or after your appeal. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the insurer if you cannot resolve your case through the appeals process. One of our attorneys can help you determine whether this is an option.
Unlike an ERISA claim, you can recover damages from the insurer by filing a bad faith claim in state court. Your claim could also go before a jury trial. Instead of a judge, a jury of your peers could decide the outcome of your case. However, many insurers attempt to settle before the need for a jury trial materializes.
VA Resources in Washington State
Disabled veterans may also need to access benefits. Veterans can apply for benefits with the VA. You can access helpful resources if you are a disabled veteran living in Washington and wish to file a claim. The following state resources could help with your situation:
Recovering Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs
The process for recovering benefits may be frustrating and convoluted for many veterans who are suffering from a disability. You would need to demonstrate the following criteria to recover benefits from the VA:
- A physician diagnosed you with an existing illness or injury that meets the criteria for a disability;
- Your illness or condition occurred due to your service.
Evidence for a VA claim could include the following:
- Medical records
- Discharge paperwork
- Service records
- Statements from physicians, fellow service members or familyEvidence for a VA claim
You can begin the claims process by contacting the VA directly or by using an online claims form.
Cities Our Washington Disability Lawyers Serve
Contact Our Disability Lawyers in Washington State for Representation
Tucker Law Group can help if you are filing a claim for disability insurance benefits or fighting an appeal for VA benefits. Our disability lawyers in Washington state have extensive experience resolving claims. We take cases across Florida, but also provide assistance on cases in states across the country, including Washington. You deserve a chance to fight for your benefits. Contact us by dialing (866) 233-5044 or by using the contact form on our site.