John B. Dupree, Attorney at Law

Knoxville Lawyer for ERISA Relief

Free Consultation

713 Market Street

2nd Floor - Cate Building

Knoxville, TN 37902

865.437.5081

Scrapping with the Insurance Companies Takes Time

Friday, February 6th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments

I have not posted for some time now for a simple reason – I’ve been into an intense period of litigation in my cases.  I was recently reviewing the blog of a law professor and noticed that he was posting about 4 or 5 items per day.  That’s fine for an academic.  However, for those of us out in the streets, it is almost an impossibility.  But that does not mean we litigators are not doing our part.  Since Obama was elected, I sent my previously posted letter to the Department of Labor for a second time.  I mentioned in my cover letter that I sent the same letter to the Department during the tenure of the Bush Administration – I never heard a peep.  Hopefully, the Obama Administration will hear my appeal.  Claimants need help now.  I will promptly report when and if I receive some reply from the Department

For your general information, I typically file my disability cases in state court.  There are two reasons:  First, usually the filing fee in state court is much lower (in Knox County, Tennessee, the filing fee in Chancery Court was $57.00 until this past summer; now it is about $125 or so; filing in the Eastern District of Tennessee costs $350.00!) and because I believe that the state courts may be more sympathetic to a claimant’s case than the federal courts.  In almost every case, the insurance company removes the case from state court to federal court pursuant to the ERISA statutes.  While it is appropriate to file in state court, it is also appropriate to remove the case to federal court (although I do not agree with the premise that the federal courts are more prepared to handle these cases).  But why would the insurance companies want the case in federal court?  Hmmmmmm……   At any rate, in a recent case the insurance lawyers did not remove the case.  Hence, I am excited to be able to litigate in a state court and I have been preparing a host of different pleadings in the case.

On another note, keep an eye peeled for Edwards v. Cigna/Lina here in the Eastern District.  This case is ripe for decision and I just pray that Mr. Edwards prevails.

For claimants reading this blog – here’s a few things to keep in mind:  I have represented insurance companies in the past – that’s how I cut my teeth in the legal profession.  What I learned is that insurance companies aren’t in the business of paying claims, they are in the business of denying claims.  How do I know?  Because I was regularly hired by insurance companies to take a look at files – evaluate the facts, review the policy and determine if there was any way to deny the claim.  I was expected to find a way to get it done for the insurance company.  So, make no mistake – if you have a claim, there are people evaluating whether there is a way to deny your claim.  On the flip side, if you have an claims agent or adjuster who really cares – who listens and doesn’t treat you unfairly – then personally thank them and tell others about your experience so that the company is rewarded for its fairness.

Other things to watch out for:  Don’t let the insurance company just schedule a evaluation without even consulting you to determine if the evaluation comports to your calendar.  It is rude for an insurance company or its agent to just tell you when and where you are to report for the evaluation.  You may be disabled from work, but this doesn’t mean you stop living life – you have appointments too.  Let them know if you have a conflict and make them reschedule.  In addition, don’t let an insurance company back you into a corner and make you decide which of your multiple problems you intend to claim under the disability policy.  If you have a constellation of medical difficulties, you have the right to CLAIM THEM ALL!  Finally, be aware of the limited disabilities in your policy – specifically “self-reported” or mental claims.  These are usually limited to two years of benefits.  So don’t let the insurance company force you into one of those categories if you have disabilities that lie elsewhere.

I will have more tips and gripes later.  Good luck with your claims and hang in there.  John.

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John B. Dupree, Attorney at Law

713 Market Street

2nd Floor - Cate Building

Knoxville, TN 37902

Email: john.dupree@knoxtnlaw.com

865.437.5081 Phone

865.437.5082 Fax

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