Liberty Mutual Long-Term Disability Denial: How to Appeal
When you suffer from a debilitating health condition that impairs your ability to work, you may file for long-term disability (LTD) benefits through your insurer. You may have this LTD insurance through Liberty Mutual, which offers both short- and long-term disability insurance.
Liberty Mutual was founded in 1912 and took on its current name in 1917. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Liberty Mutual has become one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. Yet it has also gained a reputation for denying claims and frustrating its clients.
Insurance companies often look for reasons to not pay claimants, and Liberty Mutual is no different. These companies routinely prioritize their financial needs over the needs of their clients, which often results in bad-faith practices that work against claimants.
When a long-term disability claim is approved it can cover a percentage of your income while you have a disability that prevents you from working. However, the claims process can be arduous and time-consuming. If Liberty Mutual denies your claim, an already stressful process may seem even more overwhelming.
While it is certainly possible to handle your Liberty Mutual disability claim denial by yourself, there are benefits to hiring a dedicated LTD lawyer to assist you. The long-term disability attorneys at the law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick have extensive experience dealing with LTD denials and can help you get the benefits you deserve. Call CCK today at (800) 544-9144 for a free consultation with a member of our team.
Why Did Liberty Mutual Deny My Claim?
Long-term disability policies contain a definition of disability that is important when filing a claim with an insurance company. The claimant must prove they meet this definition to receive their benefits. Generally, there are two definitions of disability: “own occupation” and “any occupation.” The “own occupation” definition asks whether you can perform the duties of your specific job. The “any occupation” definition asks whether you can perform the duties of any job—regardless of its relation to your current position.
If a claimant cannot prove they meet this definition, the insurance company will likely deny their claim. Ordinarily, the “any occupation” definition is much harder to prove than the “own occupation” definition.
In addition to a failure to prove the definition of disability, Liberty Mutual may also cite some of the following as reasons for when they deny your claim:
- Lack of evidence: Medical records are important pieces of evidence for an LTD claim, but in some cases, these records alone are not sufficient. Claimants may want to include supplemental evidence with their claim to avoid the insurance company citing “lack of evidence” as a reason for the denial.
- Surveillance revealed doubt about your claim: Liberty Mutual may hire a private investigator (PI) to conduct surveillance on you. Many insurance companies use surveillance tactics on claimants to reveal doubt about the claim. These tactics can include the PI staking out at a claimant’s house; photographs being taken of the claimant in public and at their house; social media monitoring; and more. If Liberty Mutual decides that anything within the surveillance provides any sort of doubt, it will use it to deny the claim.
- Missed deadlines: It may not seem so, but a missed deadline can be the difference between an approval and a denial of benefits. Deadlines associated with long-term disability claims are very strict, especially if the policy is ERISA governed. Liberty Mutual may deny a claim simply because a certain deadline was not met. These deadlines are normally included in your policy.
- Independent medical exams (IMEs) did not support your claim: Liberty Mutual may use third-party doctors to conduct an IME. These doctors are usually biased because they work for Liberty Mutual. It is best to seek out your own third-party doctor to conduct a separate exam to combat this.
When a claim is denied, the claimant will receive a denial letter from Liberty Mutual that explains the reasons behind the decision. The letter should also mention what evidence was used to reach this conclusion. The denial letter is a vital element during the appeal stage.
What Do You Need to Appeal a Denial of Liberty Mutual Benefits?
It is important to read the denial letter that Liberty Mutual provides you. Once you have read this denial letter, it is time to begin building a strong appeal. To do this, you must carefully make note of each reason for the denial. Using this information, you can determine what evidence and documentation you need to update and/or submit to strengthen your claim and improve your chance of approval.
Importantly, if your policy is governed by ERISA, this appeal stage is the last time you may submit new and updated evidence.
To help your chances of approval, there are some steps you can take when you file an appeal, such as:
- Ensuring your evidence is up to date: Sometimes, your appeal should include new or updated evidence. You can do this by revisiting your doctor and having them reevaluate your condition. Additionally, reports from additional specialists can help bolster your appeal.
- Fixing any errors present in the original claim: When certain guidelines are not met or there are clerical errors in the documentation, claims get denied. The appeal stage is a chance to fix these errors.
- Obtaining personalized reports from your treating physician(s): Your treating physician (or physicians, depending on your condition) contains insights that regular medical records do not. For example, your doctor can explain in a specialized report how your condition affects you each day.
- Seeking a vocational expert: A vocational expert can assess how your condition specifically affects your ability to do your job. Having assessments from outside experts can significantly reinforce your appeal and show why you need long-term disability insurance benefits.
- Procuring witness statements: Often, the people who see you each day are the ones who best understand how your condition affects you. Therefore, procuring official witness statements from family, friends, and coworkers is important. Witness statements from family members and close friends attest to how your condition affects you at home while similar statements from coworkers vouch for how your condition affects you at work.
- Making special note of deadlines: As mentioned, deadlines are a crucial element of the long-term disability claim process. The same is true during the appeal stage. It is important to make a special note of all deadlines so that you submit everything on time.
How Can Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick Help with a Liberty Mutual Appeal?
It is a stressful process to appeal a denial of benefits. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with. Moreover, if the appeal is denied, the claim can go to litigation. This can complicate matters further since there is no jury and the court usually gives deference to the insurance company. When filing a lawsuit, it is advantageous to contact a long-term disability lawyer.
An LTD attorney understands the complexities of the appeal process. The team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick understands the frustrations claimants experience. We have over three decades of collective experience dealing with insurance companies, so we know how they operate. CCK can act as a point of contact between you and Liberty Mutual so that you never deal with them directly.
Moreover, the long-term disability insurance lawyers from CCK will thoroughly evaluate both your LTD policy and your Liberty Mutual denial letter. We will then determine the best evidence to include in your appeal. Additionally, we will help you gather this evidence.
An ERISA attorney understands the headaches that are associated with ERISA law. We will track all deadlines and evidence to ensure that nothing is missed. We will worry about the complexities of the appeal process so that you may focus on what is important: your health.
When Liberty Mutual approves your appeal, we can continue to represent you. Often, insurance companies like Liberty Mutual continue to request updated evidence and documentation while you are receiving LTD benefits. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to terminate long-term disability benefits after your claim is approved. Therefore, we can continue to act as a point of contact with Liberty Mutual to ensure that you retain your hard-won disability benefits.
Call CCK Today for a Free Consultation Concerning Your Liberty Mutual Long-Term Disability Appeal
Our long-term disability lawyers are ready to assist you in your appeal against Liberty Mutual. We will use our expertise to fight for the benefits that Liberty Mutual wrongly denied. We can provide you with legal advice during any stage of the LTD claims and appeals process.
Receiving a long-term disability denial is disheartening, but it is not something you must do alone. If you have a medical condition preventing you from working, and Liberty Mutual denied your claim, CCK may be able to help. Call us today at (800) 544 9144 for a free consultation with a member of our team.
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