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Litigating a Long Term Disability (LTD) Claim

One of the perks of any job can be the benefits. Such benefits can include money for a massage for relief after a stressful day, or for relief following a car accident. If you need a masseuse in the 905, seek out Lucas Jacobs RMT; he has magic hands.

Another perk can be the disability benefits; whether they be short or long term. Short term and long term disability benefits are often administered by separate third party insurers, such as Manulife, Great West Life, Standard Life, SunLife, Industrial Alliance, SSQ or even RBC Insurance. All of these insurance companies are known for processing, adjudicating, and administering short and long term disability claims.

If you get hurt, or injured in an accident, or get really sick, or you’re recovering from an unforeseen, chances are you might qualify for short term or long term disability benefits if you’re unable to do your job.

You will first need to complete an application form for disability benefits. Each insurance company has their own version of the form. You may also need your employer to complete their own form which details the tasks, duties and demands of your job. The insurance company will want to know what was expected of you at work in order for them to determine your capacity to return to work.

Finally, your insurer will also require your doctor to complete a form known as a Doctor’s Questionnaire or a Disability Certificate to find out what your diagnosis is, what your prognosis for recovery is, and in their opinion if you can, or cannot return to work.

The insurance company may also require that you complete a series of authorization forms so that they can gather your hospital, doctor, and other medical records so that they can better evaluate your disability claim. It ought to be in the insurance company’s best interest to have all the medical and hospital records necessary in order to better assess your claim. If they’re just going based on one piece of paper, then they may not have the whole picture about your health and your recovery. Under most STD and LTD policies, insurance companies will NOT pay for the cost of medical records. This is the disability claimant’s responsibility. This can get very expensive, particularly given the high cost of recovering and photocopying medical records; along with the fact that the disability claimant likely cannot work to earn money to pay for these records on account of their disability. Would you rather pay for food to feed your family, or pay your mortgage payments to keep the bank from foreclosing on your house vs. paying for medical records to prove your disability claim? 99% of people surveyed chose the former and not the later.

The insurance company may then require that you see a doctor of their choosing in order to determine the extent of your disability. Essentially, the insurance company retains a doctor to assess your illness, injury, and prognosis for recovery. Doctors rarely like to bite the hand that feeds them, but it happens on the odd case. Sometimes, insurers send your file for a medical paper review with an in-house doctor who works for insurance companies.

After this whole process, the claims adjuster responsible for handling your STD or LTD will have an idea of whether or not to approve or deny your claim. We all hope that your claim gets approved so that you don’t need a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. But, after this exhaustive process your claim remains denied, then, we strongly recommend speaking with a lawyer with knowledge in handing disability claims. Your insurer has a duty to handle your claim in good faith. Ontario’s Courts have identified what good faith claims handling procedures are; and what additional damages can be recovered on account of the bad faith claims handling procedures by insurance companies. Damages for mental distress on account of the unjustified denial of the LTD Claim are not uncommon either.

Long Term Disability Claims, like all personal injury claims are marathons. They aren’t sprints. These cases time time to develop and crystallize; particularly with seriously injured or ill claimants. If you can’t return to work for the rest of your life, then these claims will really matter for you and your loved ones, so it’s not time to mess around in picking a lawyer or advancing your claim.

The insurance company will also push you to apply for CPP Disability. The reason for this is because under the terms of the policy, the insurance company will be entitled to a set off from the CPP Disability Benefits recovered and the amount of LTD benefits paid. A disability claimant is not allowed to “double dip”. This means, they aren’t allowed to get paid more money in disability benefits (CPP and LTD) than they were making in earnings while they were working.

We’re going to end off this blog post by commenting on the Movie Theatre Massacre in Aurora Colorado. There are as many guns in American as people. Guns are great for the economy. The United States is known for its Military Industrial Complex. Basically, this means that the American economy has been driven by war, guns, and all of the spin off businesses created by war and guns. And that’s lots and lots of business.

I don’t like guns. But, I respect a hunter’s right to bear an arm to protect himself or fend for himself in a rural community.

When you can buy semi automatic assault riffles in stores, and thousands or rounds of bullets on line (legally), something is wrong with your system. Great for the economy, but bad for safety. And when neither party (Republican or Democrat) will touch the issue of gun control, or controlling the sale of automatic and semi automatic weapons because of the upcoming presidential election, something is seriously wrong with your system.

It should be noted that the NRA’s influence over the gun control issue in the American Presidential Election is the exact same thing we experience in Ontario with our Insurance Laws and our changes to the Accident Benefit Regime when we elect a Premier. The Insurance Bureau of Canada, along with other large multi-billion dollar insurance companies donate to the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP to influence laws which most favour their interest (which are not the same interests of the public and accident victims).

The NRA also donates lots of dollars to both the Republican and Democratic parties. The NRA, like the Insurance Bureau of Canada has huge influence over politics and the development of policy. Both groups are largely industry/corporate groups (insurance industry, gun manufacturer/distribution industry as opposed to populist groups). Both country’s government are more eager to service corporate/industry needs, rather than the needs of the PEOPLE who voted and put them in office. That’s even more sad. Doom and gloom. Sorry people.

I’m starting to sound like an anti capitalist communist. So I’ll stop here.

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