Professional Athletes & Disability Claims

The risk of a career-halting injury as a professional athlete is very high, and perhaps higher than in most any other profession. Thus, elite athletes pursuing a professional career in sports often purchase private disability coverage to protect them in the event of physical disability interfering with their career and their income. Many times athletes are also entitled to disability benefits through their professional sports association or organization, though these are often considered group disability benefit plans subject to the stringent guidelines of the complex federal statute, ERISA.

As we discuss on our group benefits plans page, ERISA creates an unequal claims process, placing strict obligations on individuals pursuing benefits that make maneuvering a claim difficult and frustrating for unaware claimants at a time when they should be focusing on their recovery. Private disability insurance companies are likewise notorious for their deceptive practices to avoid paying benefits despite a legitimate disability claim. These carriers not only have in-house legal departments or local attorneys paid solely to protect their interests, but they are strategically trained and financially motivated to deny high dollar disability claims. The high risk for physical disability combined with the high cost of a professional athlete's disability claim, places a disabled athlete's benefit claim in the spotlight for being scrutinized, denied and fiercely litigated.

The application process alone involves several hurdles, such as confusing forms, extensive requests for information (or lack of guidance on what information to submit), contacts made without your knowledge to your treating doctors, multiple "independent" examinations being required by the company or organization, in-person or telephone interviews with claims examiners and investigators, among other demands. The information submitted and documented during the application stage is one of the most important aspects of a claim, and can mean the difference between proving your claim and foreclosing on your rights to benefits. Unfortunately, the forms and guidance provided by the party responsible for payment of the benefits is deceptive and motivated by self-interest, with the hope that information elicited can be used to discredit the player and justify a claim denial.

Knowledge of the common tactics and deceptive behaviors, and identification of the type of information that is most persuasive to the insurance company or benefits administrator is critical to prompt and successful resolution of your claim. The lawyers at Disability Insurance Law Group are well-versed in the nuances involved in representing athletes in their disability benefit claims, and maneuvering the disability claims minefield. We understand what information is necessary to not only get benefits paid but also to stand up to a denial of benefits, and we guide our clients through the claims process, eliminating confusion and clearly communicating every step of the way. The reputation of Disability Insurance Law Group's lawyers for aggressive representation of clients deserving of benefits promised to them is known and respected by insurance companies and benefit administrators alike.

To discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys, please contact us to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. We serve clients nationwide.