According to a report by the United States Department of Labor based on 2017 statistics, ERISA lawsuits are on the rise, including ERISA trials in Texas. Not only are they on the rise but ERISA insurance companies are being held responsible for their non-compliance with federal ERISA law.
If you received a denial letter for your ERISA claim, you may be feeling frustrated, betrayed, angry, and even uncertain about your financial future. However, you have the option of working with an experienced attorney to pursue your benefits in civil court.
Under 29 CFR § 2560.503-1, ERISA lawsuits are different from other civil lawsuits in many ways. Unfortunately, they are often not policy-holder friendly. One of these differences is that they are filed in federal court. The ERISA lawsuit is initiated by the plaintiff or their attorney filing a complaint with the district court. It is well-advised for a plaintiff to have an accomplished lawyer by their side during the lawsuit process.
From there, the disability insurance company will have 20 days to file an answer. A judge is then assigned to the case and will schedule a case management meeting with attorneys for both parties. At the conference a schedule for the lawsuit will be agreed upon, this includes discovery, mediation, and a deadline for filing a Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ).
It is important to note that in a traditional sense there is no such thing as ERISA trials in Texas. The plaintiff does not go before a jury. The legal issue at hand is not whether someone is disabled or requires certain medical care, it is whether the plaintiff provided the information needed for the insurance company to make their decision.
A federal judge does not decide whether the plaintiff is disabled. Instead, the judge will examine the entire ERISA claim file after an MSJ is filed. Essentially, this is how an ERISA case is tried.
Once the case has been filed in district court, the plaintiff can no longer add information to their file. Since the file is what the judge will use to determine the case, it is extremely important that the plaintiff and their attorney stack the file with as much information about their health and disability as possible prior to the filing. In fact, the goal should be an overabundance of information in the file.
If you have recently had an ERISA claim denied, you may be confused as to what your rights are or what your next steps should be. A lawyer who is well-versed in ERISA law can answer your questions and guide you in your options.
They may even be able to assist you with the ERISA claims appeals and litigation process to help win your claim. The appeals and litigation process can often be burdensome and time-consuming. Leaving this task to an attorney can help you avoid stress and increase the chances that your claim will be awarded. To learn more about ERISA trials in Texas and your rights after an ERISA claim denial, call today.
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