Work-related injuries, illnesses and fatal accidents continue to be a major concern for federal, state and local governments due to their high count despite the laws which mandate that all working environments should be kept healthy and safe for all employees.
Records from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal a little more than three million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, and 4,405 deaths in 2013. Despite the substantial difference in the number of deaths compared to the latter part of the 20th century (about 14,000 job-related deaths every year), authorities from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) know that there is still so much to be done, considering the fact that accidents are almost always results of acts of negligence.
Every time a worker is harmed different issues are brought into the open, including employers’ compliance with workplace safety laws, and the severity of an injury and the effect this injury will have on the victim’s personal, professional and financial future.
Some accidents cause no more than minor scratches, while others are more serious, requiring days or weeks of bed rest. Some injuries are severe, however, causing long term disabilities (LTD) that render a worker unable to work for months or even years, taking away his/her capability to earn wages.
Good thing, some employers provide their employees with a long term disability (LTD) insurance policy as part of their comprehensive employee benefits package. This is to protect employees from losing any form of earnings during the long period when their injury or illness will keep them out of work.
The effectivity of a long term disability policy is usually up to 10 years or until the injured employee reaches the age of 65. An employee can start enjoying the benefits of his/her LTD policy after his/her short term disability insurance benefits, if he/she has one, have ended (the short term disability insurance benefits typically last between three to six months).
Most LTD insurance policies are designed to pay disabled employees about 50 – 70 percent of their salary. The benefits in employer-provide LTD policies, however, are subject to taxes, reducing further what the injured employee would receive. Due to this, there are employees who decide to purchase personal supplemental long term disability insurance; besides the higher pay, this is also tax exempt.
Often, despite employees’ eligibility to receive LTD benefits, many applications get denied or are awarded benefits that are below what the policy stipulates. Many insurance providers, obviously, are guilty of avoiding making payments, thus, they do all things possible to deny claims, delay assessment of applications or payment of claims, or pay much lower benefits.
According to the law firm Fields Disability, the usual scenario concerning insurance firms is they sell you a long-term disability policy and they make you the promise of covering you in the event of an illness, injury or mental condition – for the years you can’t work. However, when the time comes you actually need the promised benefits, they deny your long-term disability claim.
A skilled long-term disability attorney, however, knows how to make an insurance company keep its promise and pay the benefits you deserve. Thus, if your long-term disability benefits have been denied or discontinued, it may really be wise to have a skilled long-term disability attorney assist you in your application or appeal process.