Northwestern Mutual is one of the biggest and most well-respected names in the disability insurance business. But when it comes time for a disability insurance claimant to sue to preserve their right to continued disability benefits, Northwestern’s sheer size and access to legal resources can create quite a battle. What should disability insurance claimants expect when preparing to sue Northwestern Mutual for their disability insurance benefits, and what steps should they take to prepare? At Dell & Schaefer, we’ve litigated thousands of these claims and can advise disability claimants on the ins and outs of the process.
Preparation is the Key to Disability Insurance Claim Approval
Some disability insurance companies will begin investigating a claim only after they’ve denied it. While this can seem counterintuitive, it is often more cost-effective; not all disability insurance claimants will appeal a denial of benefits, so a “deny first and ask questions later” approach can reduce the number of claims that must be actively investigated.
But Northwestern Mutual is different from other insurers in this respect. It will generally conduct a thorough investigation of a disability insurance claim before denying the claim for benefits. This can make it harder to appeal a denial, as Northwestern has already done the heavy lifting of investigating this claim and therefore doesn’t need to do as much legal legwork at the appeal stage. Disability applicants must be prepared and well-organized before they file a disability claim and before they sue to enforce a disability insurance policy after a claim is denied.
What Factors to Consider Before Suing Northwestern Mutual
Claimants should be aware of the “legal action limitation provision” in their Northwestern Mutual disability lawsuit. This limitation provision is essentially a contractual statute of limitations, and once this period expires, the claimant will be barred from suing to recover their disability benefits. This is one reason why it is often more beneficial for disability claimants to sue Northwestern Mutual shortly after receiving a denial letter rather than trying to appeal the denial or attempting to re-file the claim while providing more information.
If there’s still some time remaining under the legal action limitation provision, applicants should also consider whether additional evaluations are necessary (or would be beneficial) to demonstrate their entitlement to disability benefits. Outside medical examinations, functional capacity testing, or occupational testing can all help boost an applicant’s claim that Northwestern Mutual is obligated to pay disability benefits under the plain terms of the policy. An experienced long term disability attorney can work with you to evaluate the factors unique to your claim and determine what, if any, testing would be helpful.
Most Northwestern Mutual Lawsuits are Resolved by a Lump-Sum Settlement
Very few Northwestern Mutual disability insurance lawsuits ever see the inside of a courtroom. In most cases, Northwestern Mutual will offer the disability insurance applicant a lump sum in settlement of all claims; if this settlement is accepted, Northwestern Mutual will then terminate the disability insurance policy and cut all legal ties with the applicant. If a lawsuit is filed in federal court, the judge may order mediation to encourage settlement; in other cases, either the disability claimant or Northwestern Mutual itself may put out an initial settlement offer to see if it is acceptable to the other side.
When going into a legal battle with a company as well-known and deep-pocketed as Northwestern Mutual, disability applicants can reap major benefits by seeking legal advice throughout the process. The experienced attorneys at Dell & Schaefer have handled thousands of claims against Northwestern Mutual and can help prepare you with the strongest possible claim for benefits. Give Dell & Schaefer a call to set up your FREE consultation with a member of our team.