Don't Be A 'One-Shotter' In ERISA

To those who wonder if they should need an ERISA-wise lawyer in their corner when they battle an insurance company or a big employer on a disability claim, read what a Federal District Court Judge said in finding for AT&T, in May v. AT&T, 2013 WL 3879895 (N.D. Ala.):

“Mrs. May has only one ERISA case, this one.  Sedgwick and other professional claims administrators and insurers, have many cases and are represented by highly competent lawyers who are well trained in ERISA jurisprudence…  The ‘one-shotters’ cannot compete with the ‘repeat players’”.

This succinct analysis by an impartial Federal District Court judge of what an employee faces when forced to make an ERISA disability claim because of illness or injury is another way of saying what we have been saying for years:

                        "Insurance companies fight claims like yours a thousand times a day.
                                              You have only one shot to get it right."

Lawyers always find it difficult to answer the question of a potential client:  Do I need a lawyer?  Very few people would expect a “no” answer when legal issues are involved.  But, having to answer “yes” has the appearance of the lawyer looking for more business.

When it comes to ERISA, however, the “yes” answer has much support.  A while back we wrote a post in which an ERISA lawyer who represents employers posted an item in which he pointed out the advantage to him and his clients of facing an employee claim represented by a lawyer who had little or no experience with ERISA.  See why.

Now a Federal judge, William M. Acker, Jr., a long-time critic of the ERISA system as it was interpreted in Firestone v. Bruch, 489 U.S.101 (1989) and who handles many an ERISA matter, has felt compelled to comment again on the almost insurmountable difficulties facing an unrepresented claimant facing off against “…highly competent lawyers…well trained in ERISA jurisprudence”.

If you are unfortunate enough to be unable to work because of a disability and you have to fight an ERISA claim against your employer and/or its insurance company, don’t be a “one-shotter” fighting “repeat players”. 

Don’t be afraid.   File your claim. 

But, before you begin, be sure to hire an attorney who is also a “repeat player”. 

Give yourself the best “shot” to prove your claim.



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