The old saying that “a good lawyer will cost you a lot of money, and a bad lawyer will take all you got” is as accurate today as it was 100 years ago. As a dentist facing loss of your income due to bad accident or illness, financial concerns will soon become a critical issue after you determine how injured or ill you are. In order to provide for your family, you have made the wise decision to invest in disability insurance. Legal assistance may be desirable when you face the decision regarding filing a claim.
We understand that 20% of you will fail to purchase and maintain valid disability policies. This decision will hopefully not be regretted. Understand that you have a 20-30% chance of encountering a disabling injury or illness during your career. These are not good odds. Be smart and make wise decisions on the amount of risk you are willing to take. If you cannot work , your family may be the ones to deal with the consequences.
You likely have had experience with the use of legal representation in the past. Whether it is practice sale contacts, home purchases, or having wills or trusts drawn up; you have used the professional services of an attorney in the past. Of course there are many other reasons that you may have needed a law firm to assist you, and we hope that your experiences have been positive. Having a personal attorney is like having a spare tire for your car. Hopefully you don’t need it, but it’s there when you need one.
Understand that not all attorneys are skilled in professional disability law. Many firms will advertise extensive experience in handling disability cases. They primarily are referring to social security disability, which takes up the bulk of the disability cases brought before the judicial system today. An incredible number of SSI/SSDI cases are litigated annually in our country. The cost and expense to our society as a whole is huge.
Just like the dental profession has specialists. The legal profession has specialists in many areas to include patent law, international law, civil law, and personal injury law to name just a few. If you are injured or ill and considering filing a disability claim for yourself look at our suggestions on how to file a claim. How do I make a Disability Claim? This should get you started.
If you prefer to file a claim without legal assistance, this is entirely at your discretion. Many claims can be filed with success without the use of an attorney. There are risks to this approach and we caution you to carefully research this decision before filing a claim or contacting your disability company in any fashion. Even if you are only considering this option, please research the advantages legal representation may provide. Catastrophic injury such as blindness, loss of limbs, or terminal illnesses are likely to be handled well without legal assistance. Understand that EVEN THEN there is no guaranteed of claim approval.
If you decide to use legal representation in filing your claim, be very selective. Get opinions from your personal attorney and carefully select who you will trust with this critical matter. Ask lots of questions and not hesitate to seek second opinions. Don’t be fooled, you will have to pay for these services and it will not be cheap. Look carefully at your policy and be aware of the potential benefits amounts that you will be entitled to. You will want a disability attorney who specializes in private personal disability insurance claims. That attorney or firm should have experience with many private cases and have experience in your state. They also should have experience with the company that your policy is with.
Your valid claim may likely face challenges if you have an orthopedic or psychiatric diagnosis. Some disability policies have very specific language that outlines exactly what they will cover when faced with subjective symptoms without objective findings. Bad necks, wrist, and backs are common in our field, but may require special documentation and likely will be evaluated closely. Depression. anxiety, and stress diagnoses are also areas that have been difficult to get claim approval. Your disability company will follow the letter the law, but no further. Not all disability insurance companies are the same and each company will have its own strengths and weaknesses.
Disability insurance companies do encounter fraud, and they will protect themselves. They are a for-profit industry and their goal is keeping solvent with good financial decisions. They will not hesitate to use all available legal loopholes to avoid paying you your benefits. Unannounced home visits, secret videotaping, and supposed (biased) independent medical exams are just a few of their tactics. They cannot break the law without risk for bad-faith lawsuits that you legally can file in appeal. They can be extremely costly to the disability companies and can skillfully be used by your legal team to you advantage if necessary.
Don’t let this discourage you. With a determined effort, you can succeed in filing a successful disability claim and get the benefits that you legally are entitled to. We understand that knowledge is power, and the better informed you are now; the better decisions you will be able to make regarding your potential claim. Take a look at the attached video for ideas regarding making successful claims for disability and see our recommendations. Disability Insurance
Don’t make the common mistake of slowly scaling back your practice in the hope of getting better. Your disability company will likely look at the level of dental service/production maintained just prior to filing a claim. Your claim benefits may be decreased or even disapproved based on your new work load. Don’t sell your practice and then claim you are disabled. Your disability carrier may say you were going to retire anyway and disapprove your claim. These are just several of the traps that you may encounter. Don’t let a slowly worsening injury or illness cause you to make a poor decision. Carefully read your policy and understand all its terms and stipulations.
We hope this gets you on the road to survival and success. Hopefully you will be able to return to work soon, but we understand this is not always possible. The legal terminology involved can be confusing and we know that with our professional backgrounds that this is a fairly easy obstacle to overcome. Just be persistent and insist on the best legal representation if you need attorney.
WE ARE DENTIST HELPING OTHER SICK AND INJURED DENTISTS, WE CARE.