What is life insurance law? What type of law firms resolve life insurance disputes? Where should I start my research? Many people do not have to deal with life insurance law or attorneys who practice it. However, if you are one of the people who have been turned down by a life insurance company after a loved one died, this article will help you understand your legal options. While life insurance law is practiced by both plaintiff and defense attorneys, this blog is focused only on the laws protecting a person whose life insurance claim has been denied.
Generally, life Insurance law is an area of law that deals with life insurance and accidental death policies, life and accident claim review and litigation that may ensue as a result of disputes involving denied or delayed life insurance and accidental death claims. While life insurance issues may be handled as part of general litigation, divorce or estate planning, there are law firms that specialize only in life insurance. Plaintiff’s life insurance attorneys represent an individual whose claim has been denied. They protect the individual’s interests in his/her fight against life insurance companies, employers, group plans and competing claimants. Life insurance law is diverse and varies from state to state. In addition, some policies are controlled by federal insurance laws and not state insurance laws. An experienced life insurance attorney will explain which law will apply and how your case will proceed.
Life insurance law may encompass many different scenarios, the most common ones are listed below:
- revocation of a former spouse as a life insurance beneficiary under state law;
- denial or delay of a life insurance or an accidental death claim;
- beneficiary dispute;
- contestability investigation;
- conversion of a group policy into a private policy;
- estate planning using life policies;
- changing beneficiaries following a divorce or a court order;
- setting up a trust involving a life insurance policy;
- naming minors as beneficiaries on life insurance policies;
- problems arising from not complying with policy terms;
- group life insurance requirements for evidence of insurability;
- group life insurance requirements for waiver of premium;
- life insurance policy lapse;
- group life insurance claim denials in policies controlled by ERISA;
- disputes about which law applies to a particular life insurance policy;
- denial of claims for supplemental life insurance obtained through employment;
- payment of claims to the wrong beneficiary;
- ERISA violations by fiduciaries in life insurance cases.
At our law firm, we have helped hundreds of clients with these and many others life insurance matters. We have experience in resolving beneficiary disputes, winning ERISA appeals, and overturning life and accident claim denials. As our potential client, you will receive a free consultation and a free confidential review of the documents in connection with your case. Our life insurance lawyers do not charge any fees unless we win your case. Call us today at 1-888-510-2212 for a free consultation.
Our client called us after her life insurance claim was denied following her husband’s death. The insurance company said that the policy had lapsed for non-payment of premium and was not in effect at the time of her husband’s death. Our client and her husband had paid for this policy for over 10 years and never missed a premium. The insurance company did not send a proper lapse notice to them and did not warn them about the impending policy lapse.
Our law firm was able to successfully recover this lapsed claim.
The insured in this case died in a motorcycle accident. At the time of his death he was covered by a group life insurance policy. The policy provided basic life insurance, and double indemnity if the insured died solely through violent, external and accidental means.The insurer refused to pay the additional accidental death benefits on the ground that the insured’s death was excluded from coverage because he was driving while intoxicated at the time of his death.
Our client, the insured’s daughter, contacted us soon after she received the denial letter. The denial seemed unfair – her father’s motorcycle was rear ended by a large truck and there was absolutely no indication of the insured violating any traffic rules that would have in any way contributed to the collision.
Our life insurance attorney successfully appealed the denial of benefits and the claim was paid in full.
Our client’s employer offered group life insurance coverage to her and her family. She applied for coverage for her domestic partner. Her application was approved and premiums for dependent group coverage were deducted from her paycheck. When her domestic partner died, however, the insurance company denied her claim stating that she failed to provide a notarized affidavit or a signed statement reflecting that the couple have met the definition of a domestic partnership as outlined in the policy. While both the insurance company and the employer had an ample opportunity to request an affidavit during the 2.5 years that the coverage was paid for, they failed to do so. Instead, they accepted our client’s premiums for dependent coverage and made misrepresentations to her that coverage on her partner was in effect. It was not until the insured’s death that the issue of an affidavit was even raised.
Our law firm was successful in recovering the denied dependent claim from the employer.
Our client, the surviving spouse of the insured, called us after her accidental death claim was denied following her husband’s tragic death. On the day of his death, her husband spent time with the family by a lake playing ball. He drowned in the lake when he swam too far trying to recover the ball that was thrown into the lake. The toxicology report revealed presence of Hydrocodone in the insured’s system. Hydrocodone was prescribed to him to treat back pain.
The insurance company denied the accidental death claim claiming that Hydrocodone was a contributing factor to the insured’s death. The insurance company wrote: “This Policy does not cover any loss to which sickness … is a contributing factor; or to which the Insured Person’s voluntary consumption of an illegal or controlled substance or drug is a contributing factor. .. Because Hydrocodone contributed to the loss and was prescribed by [a doctor] for the medical treatment of a sickness …, the above exclusion applies and the loss is not payable.” The insurance company did not explain how the medicine or the back pain contributed to the insured’s drowning.
Our law firm investigated the circumstances surrounding the death and enlisted services of a toxicology expert to rebut the denial of this claim. The insurance company reversed its denial of benefits and paid our client the full amount of her accidental death claim.