Long-term disability claims are your best way to ensure your financial stability over the coming years. But, most people know very little about how long-term disability claims work from a legal perspective. The process involves filing a claim, obeying statutes of limitations, building a solid case with evidence, negotiating settlements and possibly going to trial. The legal process can be quite complex, which is why we’ve put together this legal overview, to help step-by-step guide you through the process.
Here are the legal steps and processes that you will need to following:
- Filing a Claim
Your first step in long-term disability claims is to file a claim. This must be done within the statutes of limitations, which here in Ontario is two years—unless there are legal, extenuating circumstances that prevented you from filing earlier. First you must decide which court to file your claim in, small claims court or a higher court. Generally, if your clam is under $20,000 you will want to file in small claims, in order to avoid compensation being usurped by legal fees. If your claim is over $20,000 you will want to proceed to a higher court and find legal representation.
- Gathering Evidence
Your next step is to gather evidence for your claim. This includes any and all accident reports related to the injury, medical reports regarding the injury, documents illustrating loss of income (past, present and future), loss of opportunity, and all receipts for expenses covered out-of-pocket (that weren’t covered or reimbursed by OHIP or secondary health insurance). This step in the process is critical, as the success of your claim hinges on the quality of evidence gathered.
- Negotiating a Settlement
Once we have gathered all the necessary evidence and filed a claim—if the evidence is strong—the opposing party will likely offer an out-of-court settlement, to avoid increasing the compensation and the cost of their legal fees. Each settlement must be evaluated individually as every settlement offer is different. While evaluating whether the settlement offer is worth taking, we look at the evidence against them, the value of the claim, the amount of settlement offered and the current step in the process. Settling a claim too early in the process, and taking the first settlement offered is generally ill-advised (unless the opposing party offered a generous settlement).
The large majority of long-term disability claims are settled out of court, with a tax-free, structured settlement deal. For the small minority of cases where a settlement can’t be reached, going to trial will be the only option. This is an entire process in and of itself. Call the expert lawyers here at Conte & Associates for a thorough explanation of the trial process.
If you’re planning on filing a long-term disability claim—you’ll need representation…and you’ll need the best, which is the legal team here with Jane Conte at Conte & Associates. Give us a call today to begin the process to claiming the long-term compensation that you’re entitled to—and that you need.