Case concerning disability insurance reaches Supreme Court
There are some injuries and illnesses that make it impossible for people to be able to hold down a job. In some cases, these individuals have tried to prepare for the future and may have purchased disability insurance in the event that they suffer from one of these conditions. They hope that the provider will fulfill the terms of the agreement, and make the payments that these individuals depend upon to make ends meet.
However, some of these companies may decide to deny the claims brought by policyholders for a variety of reasons. Some of these decisions may lead to lawsuits by the insured due to the failure to pay these benefits. A recent U.S. Supreme Court case could have a major impact on individuals denied payments by their disability insurers.
This case involves an employee of Walmart who has fibromyalgia. The employee had been diagnosed with the condition in 2003, and in 2005, it became impossible for her to work. She filed a request for a payment of her disability benefits, which was denied after a long review. The employee filed suit against Walmart and the insurer, Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company, in 2010, which was within three years of her claim being rejected.
The case hinges on an agreement that Walmart had the employee sign at the time of employment. In the agreement, the employee agreed to bring suit over the denial of benefits if it fell within three years of the initial claim for benefits. Since the suit happened after 2008, the company said that her claim was barred by the terms of the agreement.
Lower courts have agreed with Walmart, and have ruled that the employee cannot bring these claims, leading to the current appeal. Critics of the case worry that if the Supreme Court agrees with these lower court decisions, it could result in major problems for employees. If the companies are able to take an extensive period of time to review these claims, and this causes the limitations period to expire, it may result in employees being unable to appeal any decisions that result in the denial of benefits.
This particular case could lead to more law changes being made by various states in an effort to prevent employers and insurers from engaging in this type of behavior. While the decision is pending, employees need to pay very close attention to the language contained in the policies and agreements that they are signing.
If you feel that your disability insurance company has wrongfully denied paying you the benefits you need, you should discuss your claims with an experienced disability attorney to learn more about your specific claims.
These cases can be extremely complicated, and it will be necessary to review your situation to understand how best to proceed. These companies will have extensive resources at their disposal, and will not hesitate to contest your claim for benefits. You need someone who knows how to handle these types of cases, and who is not afraid to stand up for your rights.