At Dell & Schaefer, our long term disability insurance attorneys have handled disability claims at every stage of the process and are very familiar with the policies Mutual of Omaha relies on in approving (or denying) a claim for disability insurance benefits. If you’ve recently received a denial letter from Mutual of Omaha and are wondering what comes next, read on to learn more about what to expect during a disability insurance lawsuit.
ERISA and Non-ERISA Mutual of Omaha Long Term Disability Claims
Mutual of Omaha offers both group and individual long term disability policies, and the path your lawsuit will take depends on whether your policy is a group policy governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) or an individual policy governed by state law. ERISA policies are litigated in federal court, under federal law, while non-ERISA policies are litigated in state court, under state contract law, which can vary widely from state to state.
In an ERISA long term disability lawsuit, the claimant will need to prove that they’re disabled and that Mutual of Omaha acted either arbitrarily or capriciously when it denied the initial claim for disability benefits. In some cases, even proving that Mutual of Omaha acted arbitrarily or capriciously will result in the case being “remanded,” or sent back to Mutual of Omaha for a second review. Remand happens in about half of all ERISA cases that are decided by a federal judge, though many claims tend to settle before reaching that point.
The Claim File is Key in a Mutual of Omaha ERISA Disability Claims
Private long term disability law is very different from Social Security disability law, and ERISA lawsuits, in particular, are unique in that the claimant essentially has access to the entire volume of evidence before a complaint is even filed. Under ERISA, claimants have automatic access to the claim file, so the traditional discovery process tends to be very abbreviated or even nonexistent.
Each claim is different, and claims can be resolved in as little as a few weeks to a year or longer. However, if a claim isn’t settled and ends in a trial, it isn’t likely to be resolved until anywhere from 18 to 24 months have passed. And these trials are essentially paper trials, as there isn’t any in-person testimony or additional exhibits to be offered.
Mutual of Omaha Strongly Supports its Denials
Unlike some disability insurance carriers, which often send claimants a fairly boilerplate denial letter with just a few sentences justifying their decision to deny benefits, Mutual of Omaha’s denial letters and claim files can be very extensive and detailed. This can be a benefit and a curse; though it provides claimants with a roadmap of what they’ll need to achieve benefits, it can also make it harder to meet the tough standard of review imposed on ERISA claims. Mutual of Omaha will never come forward and admit it made a mistake, and unless a claim is mediated or settled, will litigate it to the end.
Whether the best result for the client is negotiating a settlement of the policy or fighting it in court, Dell & Schaefer will work with claimants to ensure they’re satisfied with the outcome of their case. Visit our website today to schedule your FREE consultation with one of our experienced long term disability insurance attorneys.