Claiming Disability Benefits in Burlington, Oakville and Milton

Claiming Disability Benefits in Burlington, Oakville and Milton

Disability benefits can help see you through an otherwise difficult period in your life. Claiming disability benefits, however, is not always as simple as you might expect. If you are preparing a claim or your disability benefits have been turned down or are less than expected, then it may be time to contact our team of lawyers for a free, personal consultation.

Martin & Hillyer Associates has been helping those with disability claims in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills, and Georgetown for over 45 years. Our insurance litigation team, including, Bruce Hillyer, Stephen Abraham, David Hayward, Claire Wilkinson, Laura Hillyer, James Page and Kennedy Nolan know what to expect during the claims process, including some of the most common reasons claims get denied. We have the experience and expertise to help you maximize the chances of your claim succeeding, and, if necessary, fight a wrongful denial of your benefits.


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Our local lawyers will take the time to understand your unique priorities in order to give you the personalized advice you need to reach your recovery goals. Learn more about our personal approach and the difference having a local insurance lawyer can make.

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Short and Longterm Disability Lawyers

Short and Longterm Disability Lawyers

If you are forced to stop work because on illness or injury, you expect your disability benefits to be there for you when you need them. Many employers provide short term disability benefits which will pay you a portion of your income during the first months you are off work. If you have longterm disability (LTD) benefits, they can provide further income continuation after that, often lasting until retirement age.

To qualify for these benefits, you have to meet certain legal tests. These tests vary from policy to policy and usually change over time, but ultimately they come down to whether or not you are able to return to work in some form or not. If your insurance company believes you can work and terminates your benefits, but your healthcare providers disagree, we can help you dispute the insurance company's determination and, if necessary, sue them to get the benefits you are entitled to.

LTD and disability insurance disputes often arise in the context of personal injury lawsuits, but they can arise in many other situations as well. Regardless of the cause of your injuries, our team can help you make a strong claim and enforce your rights against an insurance company that is acting unreasonably.

Don’t Give up on Your Claim!

We've been helping clients in Burlington, Halton and surrounding areas with their disability claims for over 45 years. We understand what it takes to be successful in a claim for disability benefits, and can assist you with your initial application, with appeals of insurance company decisions, and with fighting a final insurer determination in court if necessary. We'll work to get you back the benefits you are entitled to so you have the financial security you need to get on with your life.

Meet Our experts in Disability Claims


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Insurance & Disability Claims


What is the definition of a disability?

Typically, in order to receive STD benefits, you must demonstrate that you are disabled, through illness or injury, from preforming the essential tasks of your own job. This is known as the “own occupation” period. To prove this, your insurance company will require your doctor to complete a statement that describes your disability and your limitations. You will also be required to complete an application form yourself. Please see our blog post here for more information.


My insurance company denied my benefits. How can a lawsuit help?

How much does a lawsuit cost? What is a contingency fee? What are disbursements?

It’s important for you to understand how your lawyer will be paid. During your initial consultation, we will speak with you in detail about how our legal fees and expenses will work in your specific case so that you understand all your options before deciding if and how you would like to proceed.

Lawyers usually charge fees in one of three ways:

  1. A contingency fee is usually used in personal injury and insurance litigation. Under a contingency fee, you do not pay your lawyer’s fees until the end of your case, and the fee depends on the result obtained in your case. Typically, the lawyer’s fee will be a fixed percentage of any amount recovered on your behalf. This means that if nothing is recovered, the lawyer will not charge you a fee. In this way, the risk of litigation can be shared between the client and the lawyer.

    When you see headlines in advertising such as “no win, no fee” or “you don’t pay unless we win,” a contingency fee arrangement is what is being referred to. But these headlines can be misleading: what counts as a “win?” Do expenses still have to be paid? How is the fee calculated? We believe it’s important that you understand exactly what a contingency fee is, and what it is not.

  2. In most other cases, where a contingency fee is not available, lawyers will charge an hourly rate. When charging on an hourly basis, the lawyer and his or her staff bill you at a set hourly rate for all the time they spend working on your file. Hourly rates are used in most non-litigation work, including real estate, estate planning, corporate and commercial transactions, business law, family law, etc. Hourly rates may also be charged in litigation cases where a contingency fee is not feasible.

  3. A final option is a flat rate fee, which is only used for routine legal services such as notarizing a document or drafting a simple will or power of attorney.

In addition to fees, lawyers will charge for the disbursements they have to incur when working on your file. Disbursements are expenses that must be paid for over the course of your case and include things like paying court fees, paying doctors for copies of their records or for medical opinions, paying for administrative expenses such as photocopying, couriers and long distance calls, and so on. Disbursements are separate from the lawyer’s fee for the services they provide.

To find out more about the legal fees and expenses that would apply in your case, get in touch with us to arrange a consultation.


How long can I wait to start a personal injury lawsuit? Is there a time limit?

Limitation periods restrict how long a person has to start a lawsuit for most types of lawsuits in Ontario. In most (but not all) cases, a person has 2 years from the date of an injury or loss to start a lawsuit against someone. If someone does not start a lawsuit before the limitation date, in most cases they are unable to ever do so – even if they had no idea a limitation period existed.

Sometimes it is tricky to determine a precise limitation date, particularly if your injuries weren’t (and could not have been) clear right away, or if the incidents that caused your injuries took place over an extended period.

Since the consequences of missing a limitation period are so serious, it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after you have suffered a loss so that he or she can tell you what limitation period applies. Even if you think you might have already missed the limitation period, you should speak with a lawyer to confirm, since there are sometimes exceptions and ways around the deadline that could save your claim.

In some cases, in addition to a limitation period, you need to worry about a notice period. This is a period of time within which you need to warn the defendant that you are going to sue them in the future. They usually apply when governments are the defendants.

Notice periods are usually much shorter than limitation periods – for example, in most cases you only have 10 days to warn a municipality if you are going to sue it for a dangerous condition on a sidewalk.

Missing a notice period without a very good reason can prevent you from starting your case at all, so again – make sure you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure no time limits are missed.

In most long-term and short-term disability cases, the limitation date is the second year after a claim was denied, but there are some exceptions. It’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer who specializes in disability claims right away if you believe your insurance company improperly denied your claim, so that they can help you determine when the limitation period in your case is.


Should I try to go back to work?

Absolutely – if your healthcare providers are in agreement with your decision. A return-to-work attempt will not necessarily jeopardize the payment of wage loss benefits. Before making an attempt to return to work you should speak to a lawyer in order to ensure that your wage loss benefits remain available to you.


Do I have to apply for CPP disability benefits?

You may be entitled to receive a monthly disability benefit from the Canada Pension Plan if you have suffered a severe and prolonged disability. We encourage clients to apply for this benefit. Many disability insurance contracts require the injured person to apply for this benefit.


Can I force the insurance company to pay me a lump-sum?

What are the main stages of a lawsuit?

Will my case settle, or will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of lawsuits in Ontario settle before they go to court. A settlement is where both sides in the lawsuit voluntarily agree to a compromise in order to resolve a dispute without the costs, risks and delays that come with taking a case to court. If your case is settled, the defendant will agree to pay you some amount of money for your damages, and in exchange, you will agree to drop your lawsuit.

While you won’t have to go to court if a case settles, there are other preliminary stages your case might go through that you will have to participate in.

A settlement has to be voluntary for both sides, and we can't force a defendant to settle. Even if a defendant makes an offer to settle, if the offer doesn’t adequately compensate you for your losses, it may be our advice that you not settle your case.

If a case does not settle, you can go to court to have a judge or jury make a final decision. Going to court increases the costs and risks in your case, but sometimes, where a reasonable settlement is not possible, it is the only way to reach a fair outcome.

We will be there to advise you and represent your interests throughout any settlement negotiations, and throughout a court case if one is necessary. In all cases, the decision about whether to settle your case or to take it to court will be yours to make.


My claim was denied by CPP, ODSP, WSIB or another public disability benefits provider. Can you help me?

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2122 Old Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON L7R 1A3


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Martin & Hillyer Associates
2122 Old Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON L7R 1A3

     

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The information on this site is not legal advice, and you should not rely upon it as such. If you have a legal question, you should always consult with a lawyer.
Even if you use this site or consult with us, remember that we are not retained to represent you and no lawyer-client relationship exists unless and until you receive written confirmation from us.