A Long-Term Disability lawyers practice area focuses on matters related to long- and short-term disability, critical illness, and life policies, usually offered by employers to employees and provided by an insurance company in case an employee cannot work due to injury or illness. These policies are also sold as private, individual policies where the policyholder pays the premium.
For example, self-employed professionals often purchase disability benefits coverage, critical illness and/or life policies directly from an insurance company. The representation of plaintiffs and insurers focuses on the settlement or litigation of insurance claim disputes. Practitioners must comprehend the interface of all provisions of unique insurance policies and consider the spectrum of disabling conditions or critical illnesses that include physical, psychological, cognitive, and autoimmune conditions and events.
This process must also integrate a full understanding of statutory and other contractual benefit and pension plans, taxation implications, and the overall question of entitlement to a one time, or ongoing benefit.
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When an employee or a worker becomes disabled for a long period of time – either permanently or temporarily – the said employee or worker may be qualified or a long-term disability (LTD) insurance policy, depending on certain considerations and its agreed terms and conditions between the employer and the insurance company, broker, or provider.
Here, a long-term disability lawyer may be able to assist any party to the LTD insurance policy, and during any of its stages, such as its preparation, its perfection or agreement, until its enforcement, and even in dispute resolutions and litigations as a result thereof. A long term disability lawyer would be able to help you determine your case.
Generally, long-term disabilities (LTD) may include a wide range of sickness, disease, or injuries that may render a person or employee unable to work for a period of time. Said sickness or disease may be contracted or may have developed by the employee during their service for the employer, or because of the working conditions known or unknown to the employee. An injury which would render the employee disabled may also occur in or out of the work of the employee. These sickness or injuries may not only include physical ones, but also mental and psychological.
Some of these illnesses or injuries qualified as a long-term disability under a long-term disability insurance policy are:
However, there may be stipulations in the LTD insurance policy which limits the coverage or definition of a “long-term disability”, including other limitations with regards to the cause of the disability, the extent of injury, among others. Hence, it is important that both the employer and the employee are properly informed of the conditions of the LTD insurance policy, and any ambiguity or unclear provisions may be interpreted with the help of a long-term disability lawyer.
A long-term disability policy – which may also be called as LTD policy (for short), life policy, or disability policy – is an insurance policy which grants the disabled employee a replacement for his/her income for the time that he/she was prevented from working due to the disability he/she suffers.
An LTD policy is usually a private engagement between the employer and the employee, where the monthly premium is usually paid off by the employer as part of the employee’s benefits, or otherwise deducted from the employee’s wage or salary. Although, there are public or government agencies which may also provide for LTD benefits, such as disability support programs in some provinces in Canada, or the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits.
A private LTD policy is made through the execution of a contract, either between the insurance company and the employer, or directly to the employee in some cases. As a contract, it generally applies the concepts and doctrines of common law on contracts in Canada (or the provisions on contracts in the Civil Code for Quebec). These concepts and doctrines on contracts law can be best explained by a long-term disability lawyer, but the most common doctrine is that parties are free to stipulate on anything within a contract, and when said contract has been consented by the parties, it becomes the law between them. Hence, any violation on the contract would impose a liability – either for specific performance and/or for payment of damages – on the violating party.
Additionally, the LTD policy or contract provided by a private insurance company will govern the rights and obligations of each party. This may include the rates of monthly premiums to be paid, the standards for an employee to be eligible for LTD benefits, the amount or rate to be paid to the employee when he/she becomes eligible, among others. The said policy or contract should also stipulate the remedies of any of the parties when there has been a breach. Enforcing these remedies may be done with the help of a long-term disability lawyer, who may also determine whether such remedy is already ripe (ready for resolution or litigation) and the possibility of winning such remedy.
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefits is one of the disability benefits offered by the federal government to employees who suffer from long-term disabilities. Generally, an employee would be eligible for the CPP Disability Benefits when he/she is below 65 years old, have made contributions to the CPP, have a mental or physical disability the prevents the employee from working, and when such disability is a long-term one or is likely to result in death. To avail the CPP Disability Benefits, an employee should make an application before the CPP, and it will be subject for approval after submission of certain documents.
Generally, long-term disability insurance is not mandatory in Canada. It is an option that may be offered by employers to their employees depending on their arrangement on the monthly premium payments – either it will be paid by the employer, or it will be passed on the employee. When LTD insurance is not offered by the employer, employees may go to a long-term disability lawyer to arrange an insurance policy for them.
An employee may be terminated by their employer while on long-term disability. However, this may fall as a termination without cause under Canada’s labour laws and regulations. Accordingly, two requirements are imposed on the employer – to give the employee a reasonable notice of termination, and to pay the employee a severance pay. In lieu of the notice of termination, the employer may have to pay the employee for their non-compliance of this notice requirement.
As to the payment of benefits under the LTD insurance policy, a disabled employee may still be eligible for such benefits if the said employee has been receiving LTD benefits even before the termination of their employment. However, these may be subject to the conditions stipulated in the insurance policy.
Terminations may be complicated when there’s an insurance involved, and either the employee, the employer, or the insurance provider may allege a breach of the terms of the contract or of their rights. Here, a long-term disability lawyer may step in to settle the dispute amicably or extrajudicially. But when alternative dispute resolution fails, litigations or court cases may be filed, and a long-term disability lawyer may still assist either party to the suit.
Want to know more about the benefits of long-term disability policies? Scroll down for the best long-term disability lawyers in Canada as ranked by Lexpert who are ready for any of your inquiries.