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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DISABILITY TIP OF THE WEEK: Statute of Limitations for Disability Insurance and ERISA Disability Claims

Generally, if an insurance company or an ERISA plan administrator denies a claim, you have deadlines to file a lawsuit or you lose your right to pursue the claim in court. It is important to understand what the deadline may be, but most people do not know where to look to find that.

In Florida for example, in order to file a lawsuit against an insurance company for disability benefits (after you have exhausted your administrative remedies), you must do so within a certain time frame. Florida Statute Section 627.616 states that no legal action may be brought before 60 days after written proof of loss has been given, nor can a legal action be brought after the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations from the time written proof of loss is required to be given. According to Florida Statute Section 95.11, you must file your lawsuit within 5 years. Other states have different statutes.

However, many plans/policies shorten that amount of time to three years or even less. Some ERISA plans have deadlines as short as 60 days after the last denial letter! Even if your state's statute of limitations is 3, 4, or 5 years, courts typically enforce the shorter deadlines in the plan/policy.

Therefore, you should request a copy of your plan document/policy from your insurance company and/or your former employer so that you can find out what the statute of limitations is to file a lawsuit.

REMEMBER: It is important to read your plan/policy carefully for language that states what the deadline is to file a lawsuit. If the plan/policy does not specify what the statute of limitations is, then your state's statute of limitation applies.

Copyright (c) 2008 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. Any content borrowed or referenced from another source is referenced by citation to the original source as noted in the text above.

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Legal Guides From John Tucker on Selected Disability Topics