The ERISA regulations were drafted by the Department of Labor after feedback from lawyers, defense attorneys, insurance companies, and a variety of advocate organizations. There is one regulation in particular that is especially beneficial for claimants that insurance attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup are excited about because they’ve been on the losing side of it in the past decade.
In the past, the appeal process between insurance companies and our clients wasn’t a smooth tit for tat, back and forth. Often times, insurance companies introduced new information, new arguments, or new doctor testimonies that changed the case, but lawyers were not allowed to respond to these new developments.
Indeed, lawyers often wouldn’t be aware of this new information until it was too late and were unable to argue with it because the nature of the appeal process didn’t allow back and forth. The status quo of the past was that insurance companies get the last say and lawyers are not allowed to respond to new information brought forward in the appeals process. Fortunately, the ERISA regulations have changed and lawyers must be made aware of all new arguments and information of the case.
This gives lawyers (and the claimants they represent) the time and opportunity to contact doctors of the insurance company and to look into all facts brought up in the case ahead of time. Since it’s common for insurance companies to use doctors more as pawns to affirm their case rather than legitimate doctors to neutrally assess situations, this law evens the playing field for clients when they’re up against insurance companies for disability insurance.