Hamilton Long-Term Disability Lawyer


Hamilton Long-Term Disability Lawyer

Matt Lalande is a Hamilton Disability Lawyer and Co-Author of “Long-Term Disability Benefits in Canada” – a book referred to by Lawyers and Judges Coast to Coast.

He has recovered tens of millions in denied disability benefits since 2003, and will fight to get your Disability Benefits back on track.

You’ve paid your premiums on every paycheque, and now your disability insurance company has denied your long-term disability benefits. Our Hamilton, Ontario Disability Lawyers have recovered millions in wrongfully denied long-term disability benefits for claimants all over Ontario – and we can help you.

We have seen it time an time again. You’ve paid premiums to your insurance company for years – yet you feel like your adjuster has ignored or mistreated you for months, then your claim is suddenly denied. when your insurance carrier refuses to believe you suffer form a disability that prevents you from working. We see it time and time again – but don’t give up, no matter what your disability adjudicator tells you – you have rights. 

If you need to stop working because of an injury or illness, you may be entitled to continued disability claims benefits. If you file for disability insurance benefits and your insurance company unreasonably denied your long-term disability payments, you have the right to hire a Hamilton denied long-term disability lawyer to file a claim for payment.

Our disability lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in disability benefits for claimants in Hamilton and throughout Ontario. We represent claimants at various stages of denied disability benefits, which includes denied short term disability benefits, denied disability benefits and disability benefits that are cut-off at the two-year mark or at the “change of definition”. We understand the stress and financial disaster that individuals and families are often forced into and the the deep emotional toll that a disabled person can experience when their disability carrier leaves them suddenly without income.

The process of appealing your long-term disability denial could be complex and confusing –  our Hamilton disability lawyers have recovered millions in wrongfully denied insurance benefits, and we can help you.

If you have been denied or cut-off your long term disability benefits don’t give up the fight.  We are long-term disability lawyers in Hamilton, serving claimants all over Ontario.  Since 2003, Matt Lalande has represented many disabled claimants who have been unreasonably denied or cut-off their long term disability benefits. We have litigated against every major disability insurance company in Canada.  If your claim has been denied we can assist you through all stages of your claim for denied benefits and we will never ask you for upfront fees. As part of the Hamilton community for over 20 years, our long-term disability lawyers have serviced disability claimants in the City of Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Ancaster Grimsby and Binbrook.

We understand that the last thing you need after being cut-off or denied the monthly income you need is a legal bill. When you contact our Hamilton Disability Lawyers, your disability consultation is always free and we will never ask you for money upfront. In addition, you are under NO obligation to retain our firm. We are more than happy to discuss your case with you and advise you of your legal rights.

Remember, the disability claims process is often discouraging and time-consuming. The complex language of the insurance contract adds to the frustration. If you’ve been denied disability benefits, you need an experienced disability lawyer to help protect your rights and get you the benefits your deserve. We welcome your live chat, email or telephone call in order to set up a phone or in-person consultation to answer any questions you may have about your case without charge, no matter how long it takes.

Further, our disability law firm will never ask you for money upfront. We only charge legal fees if we are successful in either reinstating your benefits or arriving at a lump sum settlement of your future benefit entitlement. With our firm, we only get paid when you get paid.

Want to learn more? Read all about How Much it Costs to Hire a Disability Lawyer here.


You Paid your Premiums for years. Now your Insurance Company refuses to pay you in a time of need.

If you have become sick or disabled and are suddenly unable to work, you have the right to Hamilton disability lawyer and file a benefits claim through your private insurance company or through your work (group policy) for payment of benefits to replace your income. 

Unfortunately many claims are initially denied. Disability application can be denied at the application stage for a variety of different reasons and if this occurs, it’s important that you retain experienced disability lawyer to ensure that your case is handled efficiently so that you can receive the disability benefits you deserve. Most disability claimants obtain disability insurance through their work group disability policies. Disability insurance in Ontario covers all types of medical conditions, such as severe bi-polar disorder, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, severe chronic pain, MS and other related health conditions. In order to qualify for long-term disability benefits in Ontario, you must suffer a total disability, meaning you are deemed by medical professionals to be unable to perform the substantial duties of your own occupation.   Individuals that suffer severe injury or illness often rely on monthly income benefits to pay their bills and contribute to family finances – however some insurance companies unreasonably deny disability benefits to properly qualified claimants. The system is complicated – it’s important that you talk to a Hamilton disability lawyer today to learn your rights.

Have your long-term disability benefits been terminated?

If your insurance company has wrongly cut-off your disability benefits, it’s important that you speak to an experienced Hamilton long-term disability lawyer. Disability polices in Canada provide that claimants are entitled to payment of benefits if they satisfy their policy definition of total disability. The definition “total disability” within the first two years, is established when you are unable to perform the important duties of your “own occupation”,  even though you may be capable of performing another job.  After two years, most disability policies change their definition to “any occupation”, meaning that you must be unable to perform the activities of any occupation for which you are reasonable suited by your education, training and experience.

It’s normally at the two-year mark that disability companies cut-off disability benefits.  Insurance companies will often use the argument that you are able to work at “some type of job” – when this may not entirely legally proper. While it’s true that insurance companies can terminate your benefits at any time if they find that you are no longer meet the definition of “total disability, it’s equally true that rogue insurance adjusters will cut-off benefits unreasonably and unfairly.  If this happens, you have the right to contact a disability lawyer to make a claim for benefit reinstatement.

Why do I need a Hamilton Long-Term Disability Lawyer?

Disability claims are extremely complex to litigate and not something for the faint of heart. An experienced Hamilton disability lawyer knows the disability process can assist you in having your disability income benefits reinstated. Typically our disability lawyers will review your case with you – at no cost.  We can help evaluate your insurance claim and advise you on disability laws in Ontario and your options with your appeals. 

If we decide to work together our disability will then take a detailed inventory of your clinical history, request that your medical providers send us your a synopsis of your medical history and clinical records, rehabilitation records and medication records. A claim would be started against your disability carrier, asking a Judge for  for a “declaration” that your disability insurance carrier pay you all of the past benefits owned to you (which they denied) and order that you are reinstated on claim – meaning that your benefits will be re-started and continue.  Our Hamilton disability lawyers work with the best experts from all over Ontario and will ensure that the best specialist is hired to provide an opinion on your case. Remember – you have the burden of proving your disability, and to do this, you need to work with experienced Hamilton disability lawyers.

We serve disability clients all over Ontario

Yes, our long-term disability lawyers are locally based in Hamilton, but we serve claimants all over the province! We are more than happy to travel to your location to meet you, no matter where you reside. Or, in the alternative, we are more than happy to review your disability policy or other pertinent documents and discuss your case via Zoom, Facetime, Google Meet or telephone. Our technology allows us to represent clients all over Ontario.  It is our job as Hamilton Disability Lawyers to try to get our clients paid their disability benefits as fast as possible; therefore it is actually preferred that we have our initial consultation via telephone or Zoom.

LTD benefit denials can be discouraging and getting the help you need can be time consuming. If you’ve been denied disability benefits it’s important to understand that it’s not the end of the road. You have the full right to challenge your disability benefit denial and let a Judge decide whether or not you are disabled as per policy definition. Don’t give up without talking to an experience disability lawyer. 

Getting your Disability Benefits back on Track  – We fight for every penny.

If you suffer from a disability that renders you unable to perform the substantial and material duties of any occupation for which you have education, training, and experience, then it is vital that you contact a disability lawyer and inform yourself of your legal rights.

Taking on a disability insurer in Ontario is not for the faint of heart—don’t try to do it alone. We see claimants come to us after being bombarded with an endless barrage of anti-coverage grenades that share a single target: preventing them from collecting disability benefits.

How do disability insurers do this? They will often hire their own doctors to conduct medical examinations that will inevitably find you in “perfect” health. Alternatively, the doctors might not be qualified to render an opinion regarding your condition but may do so anyway. In real life, they would surely send their own patients to specialists.

If you happen to be wealthy, insurance companies may suggest that you stopped working out of choice or because you are burned out—not because you are truly and genuinely disabled. If that fails, insurance companies will often have their own paparazzi survive you to catch you, for a minute, exhibiting behavior that allegedly contradicts your medical records.

At times, disability carriers might also attempt to manufacture a “choice” argument by offering to retrain or rehabilitate the insured person. If the insured declines the offer, the insurer will argue that the insured has chosen to remain disabled and is therefore not entitled to disability benefits.

Total disability does not signify an absolute state of helplessness. Rather, you must be unable to work in any position for which you are suited by way of education, training, or experience.

If you have been denied disability benefits in Ontario, speak with a Hamilton disability lawyer who specializes in denied LTD claim litigation. Matt Lalande has represented hundreds of individual claimants at all stages of disability claims, including claim denial, denial at the change of definition, or lawsuits to recover disability benefits.

When you hire our Hamilton long-term disability lawyers, we need to prove to your insurance company—or, ultimately, a judge—that you satisfy the definition of total disability under your policy.

Our Hamilton disability lawyers will fight to see your benefits continue uninterrupted for your maximum period of benefit recovery, which is normally to age sixty-five. In addition to this, our disability lawyers will argue that you should be paid all past disability benefits owed to you up to the date of your settlement or trial.

Lump-sum settlement awards for future benefits are sometimes negotiated during settlement talks but should not be a factor when starting a claim for denied benefits. The insurance company is not obligated to settle with you for a lump sum amount, but it must reinstate you and pay your benefits every month if you’re totally disabled.  Matt Lalande is a disability lawyer in Hamilton that has been fighting disability insurance companies since 2003 – and if we decide to work together – he will fight for every penny, and every step of the way.

Why is it Important to hire an experienced Disability Lawyer?

If your disability claim was wrongfully delayed or denied,  you should consult an experienced Hamilton disability lawyer who focuses  on disability insurance cases.

We understand that being denied or cut-off long-term disability insurance can be financially disastrous to people that rely on their monthly benefits.  Most claimants that we speak to are often surprised and caught off  guard when they’re denied benefits. If you are like most disability insurance policyholders, you too are probably surprised by your claim denial. You paid the premiums, privately or through work, for your policy as agreed. You expected to receive your benefits as agreed – and then your turned away.

It’s important that you do not delay in contacting a disability lawyer that can help you get your disability benefits back on track.  An experienced disability lawyer can provide you with proper guidance and advice on how to advance and appeal your denied disability claim. Our disability lawyers are experienced with marshaling the medical evidence needed to assist you in proving that you satisfy your policy’s definition of today disability – either being your own occupation or any occupation to which you are reasonably trained. Remember – the longer you wait, the longer it will take to get your monthly benefits started again.

Understanding your Disability Claim

Below are some of our disability resource guides to assist you with understanding your disability claim:

Why does my adjuster keep telling me that I do not suffer a “Total Disability” what does this mean?

Your adjuster might tell you that you do not suffer a total disability because that is the language that is used in most disability definitions within disability insurance policies. Generally speaking, total disability in the context of long-term disability insurance means two things.

The vast majority of long term disability policies in Canada provides that – a person is  considered totally disabled within the first 24 months of benefit payments if he or she is unable to perform the substantial duties of his or her “own occupation” and from carrying out its major functions. If the claimant is only able to perform minor functions of the job, then he or she is nonetheless totally disabled. This is typically called total disability of your “own occupation.”

After two years or 24 months, most disability policies disability typically switch to what is called an “any occupation”definition. A policy with the any occupation definition usually requires that the definition of total disability is satisfied when the insured person is prevented from engaging in any occupation or performing any work for compensation – for which he or she is deemed fit by education training and experience.

Normally insurance companies tend to stop disability payments at the two-year mark and make the argument that you can engage in “some type” of work for compensation, when, by law, it’s a bit more complicated than this. If your adjuster says that you are not totally disabled call our Hamilton disability lawyers for more information so we can review your case and advise you of your rights.

Do I need to come to your Office to hire you as my Disability Lawyers?

Luckily, you do not. We’re certainly able to discuss your claim by Zoon or Facetime or by telephone. We are usually able to make a determination as to whether or not your long-term disability insurance company unreasonably denied or cutoff your benefits quite quickly. We are happy to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss your situation. If we are of the opinion that you have a case, we are more than happy to meet with you by Zoom, Facetime or Google Meet anytime you need. We also have the technology to serve clients remotely – for example, you can have access to your file digitally, and any and all signatures or other things we need from you can certainly be done remotely – quite easily!

Common Disability Questions

  1. I've been cut-off or denied long-term disability, what should I do?

    We understand that you may be confused and upset – but if you've been cut off or denied your long-term disability benefits you need to get legal advice from a disability lawyer now. It's important to understand that you may still be entitled to your monthly benefits even thought they have been denied.

  2. Do you offer free long-term disability consultations?

    Talking with our long-term disability lawyers is ALWAYS free. We never ask our clients for money upfront.

  3. Why do most disability claims get cut off after 2 years on disability?

    Normally most disability policies have a change of definition. The first two years of being on disability, a claimant only needs to be substantially disabled from performing the regular duties of his or her own job. After two years, the definition changes. At that point, in order to qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must be totally disabled from any employment for which he or she is suited by education training and experience. In essence, definition changes becomes more difficult for claimants to obtain disability benefits and, it is the time when most disability carriers cut claimants off the plan.

  4. Do I need to come into your office for my free disability consultation?

    You do not! We represent disability claimants all over Ontario! We are more than happy to meet you via Zoom, Google Meet or Facetime. Also, our office technology allows for remote file and digital signature access – so we are fully operational remotely.

  5. Do your disability lawyers represent disability claimants outside of Hamilton?

    We do! Our Hamilton disability lawyers represent denied disability claimants throughout Ontario. We have represented hundreds of disability insurance claimants outside Hamilton and throughout the Golden Horseshoe area—from Niagara Falls to Ottawa to Sudbury. We are happy to discuss your situation at any time. We will never ask you for money up front, and your consultation is without obligation

  6. Can I lump or settle out my LTD benefits?

    It depends. When a disability lawsuit if filed, you are requesting that a Judge declare you are totally disabled in accordance with the definition of your disability policy.  However like other lawsuits, disability claims do sometimes settle for lump sum payments.

  7. Why does long-term disability deduct CPP Disability benefits?

    Most, if not all LTD disability policies mandate that a claimant is to apply for CPP disability. Most LTD carriers will request that a claimant apply for CPP disabilty after two years of disability payments. Your LTD insurance company then gets to “set-off” or deduct your CPP monthly payment from the amount of long-term disability payable to you.

  8. What does a long-term disability insurance company get to deduct from my monthly payment?

    It all depends on what your disability policy says – however most policies state that the following may be deductible from your long-term disability benefits IF you are receiving the benefit:

    1. Severance packages
    2. Ontario Works benefits
    3. Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP)
    4. Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits
    5. Employment Insurance (EI)
    6. Financial Gifts

  9. What is the “change of definition” that my adjuster keeps talking about?

    Typically, LTD policies contain a provision that considers a person eligible to receive benefits if he is disabled from working at his own occupation for the first two years. This is known as the “own occupation” (own occ) period. Thereafter, the test changes to a more difficult definition which requires the individual to be disabled from performing any occupation for which he is reasonably suited (language like “qualified, or could become qualified for, by reason of education, training or experience”). This is known the “any occupation” (any occ) period.

    Because the test for the “own occ” period is less onerous, and the insurance company's potential exposure is lower, insurers will often pay benefits during the “own occ” period, but resist paying benefits into the “any occ” period. During the latter period the potential payout, especially for a young person, could be significant.  Before the “own occ” period expires, the insurance company may send the insured to one or more independent medical examinations (IMEs) with a view to obtaining medical evidence to use to support terminating the claim at the end of the “own occ” period or conduct surveillance.

  10. Why were my disability benefits cut-off?

    There are a variety of reasons why an LTD claim may be denied or terminated:

    1. Lack of forms and necessary documentation.
    2. Employer did not provide the proper documentation.
    3. Misrepresentations on claims forms or other supporting documentation, such as a pre-existing condition that was not mentioned or not fully disclosed.
    4. Missed time limit for submitting claim.
    5. Failure to have the injury or condition properly documented by the client’s doctors.
    6. Failure to participate in treatment regiment.
    7. Surveillance evidence contradicting the client’s claimed level of disability.
    8. The change of definition.
    9. Adjuster inattention.
    10. The insurance company not having understood your disorder or disease.
    11. A biased insurance company medical expert.

  11. What happens if I’m denied disability?

    If you been denied long-term disability the best thing you can do is contact our Hamilton disability lawyers to discuss your situation, no matter where you are in Ontario. We can help guide you through the process and offer you options with respect to your denied claim and how to appeal it through the court system.

  12. What does Total Disability Mean?

    Total disability in the context of disability insurance typically has two meanings. The vast majority of disability policies provide that total disability within the first two years of benefit payments is established where the insured is unable to perform the important duties of his or her regular job, even though the insured may be capable of performing another occupation. This is otherwise known as the “own occupation” disability provision. After 24 months of disability, most policies provide that payments of benefits will be made to an insured who is unable to perform the activities of any occupation for which he or she is suited by reason of education training and experience.

  13. What does “own occ” or “own occupation” mean?

    A person is totally disabled and unable to carry on his or her own occupation if the disability prevents him or her from performing the substantial duties of that occupation and from carrying out its major functions

  14. How long to Long-Term Disability benefits Last?

    An Long-Term Disability policy generally pays a portion of the policyholder’s usual salary or income as a monthly benefit until the person (in most cases) is:
    1. Able to return to work.
    2. No longer meets the definition of being disabled.
    3. Reaches retirement age (age 65), so long as the person continues to meet the policy requirements.
    Some policies only pay for a defined period (such as 5, 10 or 15 years). Other policies cover the person for life.

  15. My LTD Carrier is telling me to apply for CPP Disability – do I need to do this?

    Yes, most policies have a requirement that the insured apply for CPP disability benefits and, in some cases, also require the insured to appeal a denied claim. In addition, there may be a provision for an offset for CPP disability benefits received by the insured.

  16. What conditions qualify for long-term disability?

    The following are only some conditions which qualify for long-term disability benefits:
    1. Cancer
    2. Depression
    3. Chronic Pain
    4. Bi-Polar Disorder
    5. Mental Illness
    6. Heart Disease
    7. Serious Injury
    8. Brain Injury
    9. Serious Arthritis
    10. Rheumatoid Arthritis
    11. Autoimmune Disorders
    12. Blood Disorders

  17. What are Long-Term Disability Benefits?

    The essence of a long-term disability policy is for the insurer to pay a monthly benefit to you as the policy holder – provided that you meet the applicable definition of disability and you are not precluded from receiving disability benefits due to any applicable exclusion in your policy.

  18. What are long-term disability policy exclusions?

    Unfortunately, many long-term disability insurance policies have exclusions and limitations that may prevent you from collecting long-term disability benefits. If you read the fine print in your long-term disability policy, you will no doubt notice a provision entitled “exclusions”, some of which are:

    Alcohol and Substance Abuse – many policies many policies do not have coverage for absenteeism because of substance abuse.

    Self Inflicted injuries or illness – if you have hurt yourself or caused yourself to be sick you may be declined long-term disability insurance.

    Medical or surgical care that is not necessary – if you “elect” surgical care that is not vital to receive, you can be denied long-term disability benefits.

    Committing or attempting to commit an assault – assault will more likely than not void will cause you to be declined benefits.

    Being involved in or committing a criminal act – will probably void coverage.

  19. What type of disability insurance coverage is available in Ontario?

    There are three types of disability insurance coverage:

    1. Government Plans – which include the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), employment insurance, and Worker’s Compensation (WSIB).

    2. Group Benefit Plans – which are available through an employer or an association. Group plans offer more limited disability protection but at a lower cost to the insured and employer.

    3. Individual Long-Term Disability Policies –  available directly from an insurance company or broker, on a client by client basis. They offer the most extensive protection but at higher cost to the insured.

  20. What is short-term disability?

    Short-term disability (STD) are benefits that carry from the date of onset of disability and the application for long-term disability. STD is often offered through group employer plans. Short-term disability is meant to carry you through the elimination period. Common elimination periods are 30, 60, 90 and 120 days. After the elimination period is over, the claimant would then apply for long-term disability. STD policies are usually paid for by the employer and cover income replacement for the first 120 days of injury or illness.

  21. What is the elimination period or the qualifying period?

    There is usually a qualifying or elimination period, which can range from 90 to 180 days, during which no benefits are paid but during this period the person may cover their lost wages by drawing on a short-term disability (STD) policy, employment insurance or government sickness benefits, which may provide an additional 15 weeks of sick benefits.  STD policies are usually paid for by the employer and cover income replacement for the first 120 days of injury or illness. The longer the elimination period, the lower the disability premium, often dramatically so. The most common elimination that we see is 90 days.

  22. What's the point in waiting 120 days before filing for long-term disability?

    This waiting period is otherwise called your elimination period. Typically most policies have a 120 elimination period. It’s during this period that you would apply for short term disability.

  23. What happens if I’m denied disability?

    If you been denied long-term disability the best thing you can do is contact our Hamilton disability lawyers to discuss your situation, no matter where you are in Ontario. We can help guide you through the process and offer you options with respect to your denied claim and how to appeal it through the court system.

  24. What does total disability mean?

    Total disability in the context of disability insurance typically has two meanings. The vast majority of disability policies provide that total disability within the first two years of benefit payments is established where the insured is unable to perform the important duties of his or her regular job, even though the insured may be capable of performing another occupation. This is otherwise known as the “own occupation” disability provision. After 24 months of disability, most policies provide that payments of benefits will be made to an insured who is unable to perform the activities of any occupation for which he or she is suited by reason of education training and experience.

  25. What does “own occupation” mean in disability law?

    A person is totally disabled and unable to carry on his or her own occupation if the disability prevents him or her from performing the substantial duties of that occupation and from carrying out its major functions

  26. What if I’m able to do some aspects of my job?

    In considering own occupation, if the claimant is able to perform only minor functions of his or her job, the claimant is nonetheless totally disabled.

  27. How long does my disability benefits last?

    An Long-Term Disability policy generally pays a portion of the policyholder’s usual salary or income as a monthly benefit until the person is:

    -Able to return to work.
    -No longer meets the definition of being disabled.
    -Reaches retirement age (age 65), so long as the person continues to meet the policy requirements.

    Some policies only pay for a defined period (such as 5, 10 or 15 years). Other policies cover the person for life.

  28. How much will my long-term disability benefits be?

    Most policies may provide benefits equal to:

    65% of gross monthly earnings;
    75% of net monthly earnings;

    Benefits that last:
    up to age 65; or
    for only fix years.

    Reductions may apply so that your total income from all sources does not exceed a certain amount. For example, the policy provision may state that the employee’s total income from all sources is not to exceed 85% of your pre-disability earnings if the benefit is taxable or 85% of the pre-disability net earnings if the benefit is non-taxable. Benefit amounts may also be reduced by other benefits that a person receives or in entitled to receive from sources specified by the policy wording

  29. What can be deducted from my long-term disability benefits?

    You should be aware of deductions that may be made from an LTD benefit amount based on policy wording. Some typical sources that may reduce the LTD benefit amount include benefits the employee/plaintiff receives or in entitled to receive from:

    -Canada pension plan (CPP).
    -Workers' compensation (WSIB) or similar coverage.
    -Group, association or franchise plan.
    -Retirement or pension plan.
    -Earnings or payments from any employer, including severance payments and vacation pay.
    -Self-employment income.
    -Government plans, except those that are excluded such as EI benefits.

  30. Does my LTD deduct severance?

    The deductibility of severance packages depends on the policy wording for the most part. If the wording is clear and unambiguous, you will have to look no further, but that is not always the case. Where the wording is not clear, consideration must be given to the nature of the severance package.

  31. Does my LTD deduct WSIB benefits?

    Yes, some policies contain offsets for amounts received through WSIB claims.

    In Richer v. Manulife Financial, 2007 CarswellOnt 1713 (Ont. C.A.), the insured’s policy provided for an offset for amounts he was entitled to receive through a WSIB claim. The insured plaintiff had made a WSIB claim but it had not yet been resolved. Entitlement to receive payments was not dependent on an application for compensation being approved. Manulife was entitled to reduce the monthly benefit payable to the insured under the policy by the amount of WSIB benefits to which he would have been entitled had he not elected to proceed with an action. See also Robert Wilken v. Sun Life Assurance Company, 2017 CarswellOnt 19517 (Ont. C.A.), where the court noted, at paragraph 3:

    “The plaintiff's voluntary decision to make a retroactive election, foregoing WSIB benefits to pursue a tort action, effectively would deny the insurer its contemplated and permitted offset, thereby elevating the insurer's relevant coverage obligation to a 'first payor' status that obviously was not intended.”

  32. How long to I have to start a lawsuit or to make a disability benefits claim?

    Typically, a lawsuit must be commenced within two years of the date the benefits were denied unless otherwise specified by the contract. Determining when the limitation period begins to run is not always obvious and often the principle of discoverability complicates matters.

  33. Are Legal Fees Tax Deductible?

    Yes, Legal expenses paid to collect or establish the right to reinstatement of disability insurance benefits or the right to a lump sum disability insurance settlement of past and future benefits are deductible for tax purposes. Where a claimant incurred legal expenses, those expenses are deductible from the settlement amount as being reasonable necessary expenses incurred to realize the settlement that was achieved. Without the legal expense, the settlement amount would not have been realized by the claimant. Where the lump sum disability insurance settlement between the claimant and the disability insurer does not specify the amount of legal costs, the Tax Court of Canada will consider the evidence of what legal expenses were incurred.

Disability Conditions we can help with

When it comes to long-term disability insurance benefits, the definition of disability varies according to the terms and limitations of your policy – but generally most policy definitions are the same. Typically, a total disability is defined in that you are unable to complete the substantial duties of your own occupation for the first 24 months after the onset of your disability.

After 24 months, a claimant will be deemed totally disabled if he or she is unable to complete the substantial duties of any occupation for which he or she is reasonably suited by way of education, training and experience. 

Since 2003, disability lawyer Matt Lalande has represented disabled claimants all over Ontario at all stages of disability benefits against every major Canadian insurance company – with disabilities such as:

  • Anxiety disordersMany people with anxiety disorders have phobias or panic attacks that are so debilitating they will disrupt their ability to work. Medication and psychotherapy cannot always control anxiety and allow a sufferer to hold down a job.
  • Asthma/COPD – Respiratory disorders can interfere with many types of work, especially jobs that require physical activity or labor. As these conditions progress, regular oxygen or other supplemental treatments might be necessary.
  • ArthritisAnyone who has arthritis knows how limiting the pain and stiffness can be. This is true for all forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. This condition can prevent people from performing their basic job duties.
  • Autoimmune DisordersMany people suffer from autoimmune disorders that can have debilitating symptoms, including lupus, connective tissue disease, scleroderma, and more. Whether you have a disability will depend on the nature of your autoimmune disorder.
  • Back PainMillions of people suffer from back pain, though many of them recover. If you have chronic back pain, you might not be able to engage in physical tasks or even sit or stand for a short time at work.
  • Bipolar disorder Type 1 or Type 2Mental disorders like bipolar can often require lifelong psychotherapy and medication to manage, and even with proper management, the symptoms might make it impossible to hold a job.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder – BPD can negatively impacts a person’s ability to regulate their emotions. This loss of emotional control can increase impulsivity, affect how a person feels about themselves, and impact their relationships with others.
  • Brain Injuries Acquired or Traumatic – Whether a brain injury is due to oxygen deprivation or head trauma, it can result in serious cognitive and physical impairments. People can suffer brain injuries at any age, including during birth.
  • Brain Cancer –  In Canada, it is the second leading cause of overall cancer death, the second most common form of cancer among children under 14.
  • Breast CancerA breast cancer diagnosis can be stressful, to say the least. While 88 percent of breast cancer patients in Canada survive at least five years, the side effects of treatment can be disabling.
  • CancerNo one expects a cancer diagnosis, and when it happens, treatment usually begins immediately. Chemotherapy and other intensive treatment can have debilitating side effects, and later-stage cancer can require patients to stop working permanently.
  • Cerebral palsy – Often the result of a birth injury, CP can cause various mobility disorders that impact a person’s abilities their entire life. Some people with cerebral palsy can never work.
  • Chronic back and neck problems – Our necks and backs are the main support of our bodies, and chronic pain or movement restrictions can keep people from performing job duties as they normally would.
  • Chronic Regional Pain SyndromeVictims of CRPS know that the nerve pain involved can outweigh the pain from the initial injury and surgery with very little relief.
  • Chronic Repiratory Disease – Chronic respiratory diseases are chronic diseases of the airways and other parts of the lung.
  • Crohn’s DiseaseThe symptoms of this type of inflammatory bowel disease can include life-stopping pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and more that can easily interfere with working abilities.
  • Dementia – Early-onset dementia affects more people than you might realize, and the condition can result in rapid cognitive decline that makes it impossible to keep working.
  • Depression Those suffering from depression and related mood disorders can have bouts that keep them from leaving the house or even leaving their beds for days at a time.
  • EpilepsySeizure disorders can be managed with anticonvulsants in many situations, though some people still experience symptoms that interfere with their daily lives despite medication.
  • Fibromyalgia -Fibromyalgia symptoms can be debilitating and can prevent prople from regular gainful employment.
  • Heart DiseaseSome people have severe heart disease that prevents them from engaging in any type of strenuous work.
  • Hepatitis – Patients with hepatitis C might develop chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, and they might need a liver transplant, which can derail their employment.
  • Herniated discs – A herniated disc can result in debilitating pain and limited movement, and some people need spinal fusion surgery.
  • HIV/AIDSIf a patient’s infection is symptomatic, it can impact your physical and mental abilities enough that you can no longer work.
  • Huntington’s DiseaseThis rare condition often begins in someone’s 30s or 40s and causes the progressive degeneration of the brain’s nerve cells, causing cognitive and physical impairments.
  • Inner-ear/Balance disorders – If you have a balance disorder or inner-ear damage, it can cause vertigo, hearing loss, or other symptoms that prevent you from working.
  • Knee disorders – Our knees need to be healthy to sit, kneel, walk, stand, or bend, and any knee damage can sideline your work and might require surgery.
  • Leukemia – Certain types of leukemia can cause almost immediate symptoms, including extreme fatigue, infections, bleeding disorders, and other issues. Chemotherapy treatments can also cause disabling side effects.
  • Liver Disease –  In Canada, over 10,000 people are diagnosed with the liver disease each year. And many are denied their long-term disability benefits
  • Lung disease – Many types of lung disease can qualify as disabling, including COPD, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung infections, and more.
  • Lung Cancer – Lung Cancer begins in the lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body,
  • Lupus – Individuals with more than one chronic symptom of this autoimmune disorder can qualify for disability. Symptoms can include extreme fatigue, pain, chest pain, and more.
  • Lymphoma – Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting network. 
  • Lyme Disease -some people can have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for years after they finish treatment.
  • Major Depression – Some types of depression are treatment-resistant, and sufferers might not be able to work or engage in regular tasks.
  • Mental IllnessWhile mental disorders might lead to a more challenging disability claim, our team represents clients with a wide range of disabling mental illnesses.
  • Morbid obesity – While having a body mass index (BMI) over 40 is not enough for disability alone, it can lead to other conditions that qualify for benefits.
  • Multiple sclerosisIf MS causes disrupted motor function in more than one extremity or other sustained disturbances, it can qualify for disability benefits.
  • Neck pain or neck surgery – If you cannot move your neck without pain or limitation, or you need surgery and recovery time for your neck, you might receive benefits.
  • Nervous Breakdowns – which is a stressful situation in which a person may be temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life to do being overwhelmed mentally.
  • Orthopedic injuries – Musculoskeletal injuries or disorders can cause serious joint or soft tissue pain resulting from an accident, causing the inability to work.
  • Osteoarthritis – This condition causes pain and limited mobility due to the breakdown of different joints – commonly, the hips, knees, hands, or spine.
  • Parkinson’s Disease – This progressive nervous system disorder can cause physical and potentially cognitive decline, and there is no cure.
  • Prostate CancerAggressive forms of prostate cancer often require aggressive treatment, which can have debilitating side effects.
  • Psychosis – This condition can cause hallucinations, agitation, incoherence, delusions, and other serious issues, often without the sufferer even knowing that something is wrong.
  • Psychological illnesses – Many different psychological conditions can have symptoms that disturb your ability to focus and perform a job.
  • Psychiatric ConditionsPsychiatric conditions require medication to regulate the brain activity of sufferers, but people do not always respond to medication and can still have disabling symptoms.
  • PTSDPost-traumatic stress disorder arises from a traumatic event, and it can cause someone to have many debilitating symptoms, including irrational fears, flashbacks, avoidance of certain situations, and more that interfere with employment.
  • Respiratory Disorders – Chronic respiratory disease can be classified as a group of lung diseases which are characterized by long-term breathing problems and reduced lung function. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritisThis chronic autoimmune disorder can cause joint deformity, bone erosion, painful inflammation, and other effects that make it difficult for sufferers to move several joints in the body without severe pain.
  • SchizophreniaThis severe mental disorder causes many people to lose touch with reality, experience hallucinations or delusions, and have disorganized thinking and behavior patterns.
  • Schizoaffective DisorderThis disorder involves both schizophrenia plus a mood disorder, and there can be cycles between severe symptoms and relief from symptoms. When someone is experiencing symptoms, they might become unable to work.
  • Scoliosis Severe cases of spinal curvature and rotation can cause pain and movement limitations that are serious enough to interfere with regular work activities or even daily activities.
  • Seizure disorder – Chronic neurological disorders that result in electrical brain disturbances and seizures can prevent someone from working. If medication is not enough to control the condition, it can be unsafe for someone to work with a seizure disorder.
  • Severely diminished eyesight – Whether vision loss happens due to a medical condition or a traumatic eye injury, diminished eyesight can make it dangerous or impossible for a sufferer to perform a job.
  • Shoulder injuries – Many people use their shoulders every day at work, whether they are reaching, lifting, or engaging in any other type of upper-body movement. Shoulder injuries can cause pain and restricted movement, and they might need surgery and recovery time.
  • Sjrogen’s Syndrome – is a is a systemic autoimmune, rheumatic disease that affects the entire body. Common symptoms include dry mouth, dry eyes, fatigue and musculoskeletal pain. However, other serious complications include other areas of dryness, internal organ involvement, neurological complications, and lymphoma can develop.
  • Speech disorders – Some speech disorders, such as disfluency or articulation deficiency, can be severe enough that they prevent the individual from engaging in gainful activity.
  • Spinal cord injuries – Spinal trauma from a traffic crash or another accident can result in damage to the spinal cord that causes permanent paralysis. Paralysis prevents a victim from walking, and they might lose functioning in their bowel, bladder, respiratory system, upper torso and arms, and more.
  • Stroke-related complicationsSurvivors of strokes can experience many ongoing complications that can keep them out of work, including blood clots, brain swelling, speech disorders, muscle tightening and spasticity, chronic headaches, depression, and more.
  • Substance Abuse A finding of disability due to alcoholism or drug addiction can be a challenging feat, though our lawyers know how to help demonstrate that your substance abuse disorder is a contributing factor to your disabled condition.
  • Surgeries (unexpected) – There are many different reasons why someone might suddenly learn they need to have major surgery. Many surgical procedures require long recovery times, which might require bed rest, rehabilitation, or hospitalization, and you would not be able to work during that time and would need to rely on short-term disability.
  • Vertigo and Chronic Dizziness – When you cannot move around without feeling the world spinning or feeling light-headed, you are unable to focus and perform even the simplest job duties.

Success Cases for Disability Claims

At Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers, we assist with claims for disability in Ontario, and we always aim for maximum benefits or compensations for our clients. This can be seen through some of our successful past results. Our of hundreds of cases that we have litigated against national disabiity carriers – here are a few examples of cases where we “lumped-out” the long-term benefits for the client:

  • $412,00 for a man with schizo-effective disorder
  • $520,000 for a very young nurse with a serious disease
  • $250,000 settlement for a man with chronic back pain
  • $250,000 for a young man with serious knee and back injuries
  • $175,000 settlement for a woman totally disabled by scoliosis and dextra-scoliosis
  • $125,000 settlement for a man totally disabled by epilepsy
  • $217,750.00 settlement for a young man with mental disorders
  • $262,500 settlement for a woman with mental disorders who received an initial denial of benefits
  • $277,500 for a young woman with an autoimmune disorder
  • $325,000 for a young mail carrier
  • $224,000 for a young woman who suffered a serious injury

Since each case is different, these results do not indicate what you might expect in your claim and are meant as an example of what we can do for you. Each case is different. Each claim is different. However, these examples show that our lawyers work hard to get the benefits our clients deserve, even after an initial denial. Ask help from our Ontario disability lawyers as soon as you can.

The majority of people never need to speak to a lawyer unless they buy a house or make a will. It’s completely understandable that you may be nervous about speaking to a disability trial lawyer about your exact situation – but don’t be. Rest assured, we are approachable, easy to speak to, and will speak to you about your particular disability situation at your convenience – at no cost to you.

What to do if you’ve been wrongfully denied or cut off your long-term disability benefits

Disability claims are complex. Do not try and make the appeal on your own. Hiring a knowledgeable disability lawyer with experience in litigating against every major Canadian disability insurance company is the best thing you can do.

We welcome your telephone call, live chat, email inquiry, form inquiry 24/7 and we would be happy to speak to you about your particular case.

Remember, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid until we win your case. If we don’t, there are no fees charged to you.

Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers are long-term disability lawyers who have been representing claimants who have been wrongfully denied or cut-off their disability benefits since 2003.

Please complete the contact form below or give us a call no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton / GTA at 905-333-8888. Otherwise, you can speak to our like chat operator or fill in a contact form and one of our Hamilton disability lawyers will get back to you within 24 hours.

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