Roy Law represents individuals in disputes over disability insurance policies individually purchased on the private market. Unlike disability policies obtained through a group plan where ERISA applies, disputes over individually purchased private policies are governed by state contract and tort law.
A long-term disability insurance policy is a written contract between an insurer and the insured. Thus, an insurance company’s wrongful failure to pay disability insurance benefits is a breach on contract. Proving breach of contract allows the insured to recovery actual damages, like back benefits due under the contract, and also damages incidental and consequential to the breach of contract, like inability to pay for living expenses.
In Washington, the law also allows an insured to sue for first party bad faith. Proving bad faith allows for the recovery of extra-contractual tort damages like emotional pain and suffering. Moreover, under Washington’s recently enacted Insurance Fair Conduct Act, a claimant may also be able to recover treble damages in certain situations. Oregon does not allow first party bad claims.
Under either a claim for breach of contract or tort, an insured may be entitled to a recovery of reasonable attorney fees should they prevail at court.
If you have any questions about Oregon or Washington’s contract and tort laws, and how they may impact your disability insurance dispute please contact us to discuss.
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