Many employers offer life insurance as an employee benefit. When they do, the life insurance policies they offer are often governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA governs all aspects of covered life insurance policies, including secondary and supplemental insurance benefit plans like Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) benefits.
AD&D benefits are insurance benefits that provide benefits to victims who lose limbs or the use of specific body parts in accidents and benefits to their dependents in the event of accidental death. Your lawyer can help you fully understand your policy and your rights regarding it.
Accidental death benefits provide monetary compensation to a policyholder’s beneficiaries in the event he or she dies in an accident. An accidental death can include a car accident, a fall, death from exposure to the elements, drowning, construction accidents, and in some cases, even homicide.
Accidental death benefits often mirror the face value of the policyholder’s life insurance policy. When a beneficiary files an AD&D claim, he or she may receive benefits from both policies, essentially doubling the amount of money he or she receives after losing a loved one in an accident. However, there are often limits on policy values and insurance providers may cap the amount payable to a beneficiary when certain circumstances apply.
Accidental death claims are regularly denied. Sometimes, they are denied because the insurance provider believes the policyholder’s death was not actually accidental and in other cases, insurance adjusters apply policy exceptions to justify a denial. When an accidental death claim is denied, the claimant may appeal the decision in an effort to recover benefits.
Under ERISA, any claimant whose accidental death claim is denied must appeal the decision with the life insurance provider before filing a lawsuit. There are specific limits on this process that vary from policy to policy, but which must be at least sixty (60) days, and it is important to know that your policy could have a very short time window for the appeals process. Talk to your lawyer about the specific limits on your case and how to make sure you do not violate them. Your lawyer can also go over your rights as the claimant and work on your behalf to pursue the benefits you are entitled to receive, which can mean ultimately heading to court to litigate the case.
When you are seeking accidental death benefits, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced accidental death attorney who can be your advocate. Contact our team at The Garner Firm, Ltd. today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office. During your consultation, we will go over your policy, your rights, and your legal options as you work to secure compensation for your accidental death-related damages.
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