People in Washington, D.C., may face unexpected and unpleasant results when they seek to file a claim on their disability benefits in the workplace. In one case, a man is suing his former employer as well as the insurance company involved, alleging that they are violating his rights by denying his long-term disability benefits. The man says that the companies' actions violate the protections for workers found in the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.
In 2006, the man suffered a foot injury in which three of his toes required amputation. Other surgeries were needed to repair the damage to his foot. After he could not return to work, he alleges that the company he worked for fired him. In addition, when he filed a long-term disability claim with the benefits provider, Metropolitan Life Insurance, he said that the company claimed that he had a pre-existing condition. The man is seeking damages for the unpaid disability benefits, and he is hoping to have his case heard before a jury.
While ERISA was originally passed in 1974 to protect pensions from corporate looting and corruption in the private sector, the law has changed over the years to provide protection to workers enrolled in health insurance, dental plans and disability insurance programs. When private sector employees covered by disability insurance are denied benefits after they suffer an injury, they could have a right to fight for and obtain their benefits.
People who are denied disability benefits despite being promised coverage through years on the job may be devastated to receive a denial of their legitimate claims. An ERISA benefits attorney may work with people who have been wrongfully denied benefits to appeal the decision and pursue litigation in order to secure the compensation they deserve. A lawyer might review the plan, assess options and move forward strategically to appeal a denied claim.