ERISA Mediations, Your Chance to Tell Your Story
If you have purchased your disability policy through your employer and have become disabled, your claim will be governed by the ERISA law. ERISA law is unlike any law in the United States and, quite frankly, it isn’t a fair law. Many ERISA disability policies have a provision in the policy that grants discretion to them to make the claims decision. That discretionary clause unbalances the scale of justice because a Federal Judge must give deference to the decision of the long term disability carrier.
It is, quite frankly, difficult to win an ERISA case in court. Your day in court is no more than having a judge determine, based on a review at the administrative record, whether a disability carriers decision was wrong, and if so, whether or not there was a reasonable basis for their decision. You can’t even testify!
As a result, most ERISA long term disability claims end up selling 10 to 40% of the past and future value of benefits.
The Federal Law requires that every ERISA long term disability claim be mediated. That means that you and your lawyer will have an opportunity to meet with the long term disability carriers’ claims representative and their attorney. A neutral third party, called a mediator, will preside over the mediation. The mediator has no authority to make a decision and must simply report to the court that the parties were present. Nonetheless, mediation can result in a settlement of your case.
The basic principle of mediation is to allow you to tell your story. Although that information isn’t admissible in court, it will let you feel as if you have been heard and that you are not just a file.
Client’s in ERISA cases have been wronged and are entitled to the benefits that they deserve. Unfortunately, the ERISA law simply makes it difficult to get the benefits they deserve or even the full value of their benefits.
Mediation is a way of finding a solution to your long term disability claim. If your long term disability claim has been denied, make sure that you appeal within 180 days. To learn more about your rights to long term disability benefits, contact long term disability attorney Nancy Cavey.