Long-term disability (LTD) insurance cases are increasingly being settled through mediation (a type of settlement conference), now used in nearly every case. Mediation is similar to a settlement process. Though it is also private, is not subject to court rules of evidence is not transcribed or recorded, and relies on voluntary collaboration by the parties to achieve an agreement.
During mediation, a neutral lawyer with experience in civil cases, the topic of controversy (ERISA disability law), and expertise to assist disputing parties in settling is present to assist the parties in reaching a settlement resolution of the dispute.
No authority exists in the mediation process for the mediator to compel the participants to settle their claim or decide any matter of law or fact arising in the case. When a lawsuit is settled, the mediator’s function is merely to assist the parties in reaching an agreement to end the litigation. Thus, settlement is always in the best interests of the parties involved.
It is possible that the court will provide mediation as a free service or that the parties will pick and pay for a private mediator of their choosing. The cost of privately contracted mediators, on the other hand, is usually beyond reach for individuals with limited financial resources. Before entering into a private mediation agreement, it is essential to understand the entire cost of the mediation.
Because a growing number of judges are forcing cases to mediation before reaching a final or trial hearing, submission to mediation is no longer as voluntary as it previously was and is becoming less voluntary. The parties’ ability to settle on an LTD benefits claim is entirely up to them. If the claim is not settled, it will be returned to the judge for a final determination. The decision of the judge does not constitute a settlement. One party is victorious, while the other is defeated.
Usually, mediation takes place between three and six months after a federal LTD lawsuit is filed in federal court. pre-lawsuit mediation has the potential to prevent up to 50 % of Long-Term Disability insurance disputes, resulting in considerably higher efficiency for both the parties and the judicial system as a whole.
Until a lawsuit is filed, the insurance sector is adamant about mediating Long term disability insurance claims granted by an employer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
Numerous considerations go into determining the strengths and weaknesses of an LTD case, its worth, and what is best for the person who has purchased the long-term disability insurance policy.
In exchange for signing a general release, long-term disability policyholders who agree on a settlement will receive the agreed-upon money.
If a settlement can’t be achieved, the mediator will inform the court that an “impasse” has been reached, and the case will be dismissed. The participants could not agree with it means that the case will proceed in the court system.
LTD mediations have a high-resolution percentage, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90 %. There are several other advantages to mediation over the traditional judicial process, ending in a court trial.
1. In contrast to trial, which might take years, mediation usually happens earlier in the litigation process.
2. In mediation, you are in charge, unlike in a trial, where the judge makes the final decision.
3. There is room for flexibility when it comes to mediation – it usually makes more sense to negotiate on an adjusted risk approach than to risk an “all or nothing” trial outcome.
4. As a result of mediation, you may be able to settle for past and future benefits, while a court can only mandate payment of previous benefits owed and reinstation, not a lump sum.
5. Innovative solutions – occasionally, settlements reached through mediation include stipulations that are sensitive to both parties but can’t be mandated by a judge.
6. Mediation is less antagonistic since it allows both parties to work with each other to find a solution. A trial is an “all or nothing at all” combative process, where the defense counsel is allowed to interrogate you on every case aspect, question your credibility, present surveillance evidence, as well as other “dirty tricks.”
Because the vast majority of cases, including those involving LTD insurance, will achieve a settlement pre-trial, engaging with seasoned mediators like those at Lloyd B. Sokolow Mediation Services and having a lawyer with a proven track record in mediations can help expedite the resolution of your case.
We realize how upsetting and devastating it can be to deny disability payments. You only have a limited amount of time to dispute your disability insurance company. Get in touch with a long-term disability mediator as soon as possible. Call Lloyd B. Sokolow at (561) 206-0040 for a free consultation.