What kind of lawyer do I need?
March 14, 2013 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I have a longstanding income protection claim with an Australian insurance company because I have a chronic health condition that prevents me from working more than sporadically. I would like to orchestrate a pay out instead of filling out monthly forms and doing three-monthly medical checks.

I have been rigorously scrutinized by this Insurance Company for the past ten years - through monthly, now three monthly, medical checks and income scrutiny. I have participated in their rehabilitation programmes, career workshops, regular phone-call check-ins with my case manager. I sign forms each month that give my insurance company complete access to my records - financial, medical, tax etc.

Over the last ten years the Insurance Company has organised an 'independent medical expert' to do a complete check of me and this expert was extremely supportive of my case. Recently the IC organised an assessment appointment with a psychiatrist, who was also extremely supportive and who also noted that the monthly and tri-monthly reporting process was adding stress to my management of a chronic health issue. From my point of view I have complied entirely with the demands of my IC, even when 'independent' assessments have been traumatic and in fact, badly/very unprofessionally handled.

I would like to orchestrate a payout of my claim if that is possible? I have approached several legal firms who say that they won't act for me since an income protection claim is already in process. I have asked lawyer friends if they could figure out what kind of lawyer or profession I would need to see to find some kind of advice about how to proceed but they are not in any useful [in this case] legal areas to offer advice to me.

I am wary of contacting my case manager directly about a pay out until I have more information about the ramifications of seeking such a payout. I have a policy that covers me for income protection until I am 65 [currently 44]. Although the scrutiny process is arduous at times, and the income protection has not kept up with industry wage levels in my career, it has been a lifesaver in most respects, and the company has been overall been good at meeting their commitments.

Can anyone advise me where/who/what I should be looking for. Legal representation? Simply talk to my Case Manager? Any anecdotal materials you could direct me to read?
posted by honey-barbara to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have advocates for the disabled in your country. They might be a place to start. Good luck.
posted by cairnoflore at 9:50 PM on March 14, 2013

My late husband (Aussie) was in a similar situation to you in regards to an ongoing workcover claim. I know it's not the same as income protect but he was made to jump through all kinds of hoops and eventually grew weary.

The insurance company offered him a pay out which he refused. A few months later they offered a higher amount which he accepted.

I would think long and hard about the amount you would need and have that amount in mind when you contact the company. You could mention it to your case manager and see what their reaction.

"I have grown really tired of this situation and the paperwork involved. Do you have a policy in regards to payouts?"

At least this might give you some more info before you proceed.

Also contact the legal aid helpline as they give out free advice, they should know who is the best contact for this kind of thing.
posted by Youremyworld at 11:25 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there some sort of association that provides support for your condition? I have MS & the MS Society have social workers who provide advice & advocacy for these sorts of situations. If there is an association for your condition, I urge you contact them. Your GP or a specialist should also be able to advise you on what sort of course to take.
posted by goshling at 11:45 PM on March 14, 2013

Maurice Blackburn in Melbourne are specialist compensation lawyers. You could google "compensation lawyers" or ask around for Perth firms who specialise in this. You could even call Maurice Blackburn & ask if there's a Perth firm they'd recommend.
posted by goshling at 5:04 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thank you goshling - Maurice Blackburn has offices in Perth. I'll see if they can help. Wonderful.
posted by honey-barbara at 2:17 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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