Options for a Life Insurance Claim Payout

Web Admin - Thursday, June 28, 2018
Rolling Meadows life insurance claim lawyerA life insurance policy can provide a family with the reassurance that they will be able to maintain financial security if tragedy strikes and a family member dies. Life insurance benefits can account for the income that a deceased person would have provided for their family, as well as expenses such as the costs of medical care prior to a person’s death or burial and funeral expenses. When filing a claim, it is important to understand the options for receiving a payout of life insurance benefits.

Payout Options

After the death of a person covered by a life insurance policy, the beneficiaries of the policy should file a claim with the life insurance company, and they must provide a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate. If the claim is approved, the beneficiaries may receive a payout in one of several ways, including:

- Lump sum - The entire amount of the benefit may be paid at one time, allowing beneficiaries to use these funds to pay outstanding expenses or invest them as they choose.

- Annuity - A benefit may be paid to beneficiaries in installments, providing regular income for a certain number of years. This allows beneficiaries to not only receive the money they need on an annual basis, but they will also receive interest on funds that have not been paid out. However, while life insurance benefits are not taxable, interest earned on these benefits is considered taxable income.

- Payout checkbook - Some insurers will hold benefit funds for beneficiaries while allowing them to withdraw money as needed by writing checks. Funds held by an insurer may also generate interest until they are withdrawn.

- Life income - Some plans may allow beneficiaries to receive a fixed monthly income based on the amount of the benefit, their age, and their life expectancy. The beneficiary will receive a guaranteed amount for the rest of their life, regardless of whether they die before or after they reach the age to which they are expected to survive.

- Pre-death payments - While life insurance benefits are usually paid after a person’s death, in some cases, they may be available while a person is still alive to offset the costs of medical care for a terminal illness.

Contact a Des Plaines Life Insurance Attorney

After a person’s death, the prompt payout of life insurance benefits is essential, allowing a family to cover their costs and meet their ongoing needs. If a life insurance company has denied your claim or delayed the payout of your benefits, Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to help you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact our Palatine life insurance claims lawyers at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Pursuing Compensation in Cases of Wrongful Death

Web Admin - Friday, May 11, 2018
Mount Prospect wrongful death lawyerThe death of a loved one is devastating for a family. In addition to the grief that family members experience, they will often struggle with financial difficulties, especially when the deceased person is a family’s primary income earner. These issues become even more difficult when the death could have been prevented or occurred because of someone’s negligent or careless actions. When family members are working to put their lives back together after a tragic loss, they should be sure to understand their options for pursuing compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

According to Illinois law, wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is caused by someone’s wrongful or negligent acts. Acts are considered negligent if the victim could have pursued a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party or parties had they not died. A liable party may be an individual person or a company or corporation.

A personal representative of the deceased person may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person’s surviving family members, and damages recovered are for the “exclusive benefit” of those survivors. Wrongful death cases have a two year statute of limitations in Illinois (that is, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death), although this statute of limitations is extended to five years (or one year after the final disposition of a criminal case) if the death was caused by “violent intentional conduct” such as murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide.

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death lawsuit can seek to recover damages from the party responsible for the death, and these damages may be economic or non-economic. Types of damages include:

  • - Medical expenses - A family may be compensated for the costs of hospitalization, surgery, or any other medical treatment the deceased person received before their death.
  • - Burial expenses - Compensation may include funeral costs and any expenses related to the disposition of the deceased person’s remains.
  • - Lost income - One of the primary types of economic damages families experience is the loss of the income earned by the deceased person, as well as any benefits they received. Wrongful death compensation can address these damages, providing a family with the financial means to meet their ongoing needs.
  • - Emotional damages - A family may be able to receive compensation for the grief and sorrow they experience because of the loss of their loved one.
  • - Loss of society - In addition to economic damages and emotional harm, a family will be deprived of their relationship with their deceased loved one, and they may be compensated for the loss of love and companionship, as well as the education, instruction, or services which the deceased person would have provided for their family.

Contact a Barrington Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your family member has died because of someone’s actions or negligence, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand your options for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. We will work to help you receive the compensation you need to address your financial difficulties and emotional suffering. Contact an Inverness personal injury attorney at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Ordering a Pizza by Using an Emoji

Web Admin - Friday, October 30, 2015

Schaumburg, IL civil litigation attorney, ordering a pizza, pizza emojiEarlier this year, Domino’s introduced a new method for ordering a pizza that involved the use of Twitter and the pizza emoji. While being able to simply tweet and have a pizza delivered to your door may be easy, a question exists as to when, and if, a valid contract is created by this action. 

Tweeting for a Pizza 

An individual who wishes to take advantage of the pizza emoji ordering method must have an online Domino’s Pizza Profile with an Easy Order pizza saved in his or her account. In addition, he or she must add his or her Twitter account to his or her Pizza Profile. After this is accomplished, the individual can tweet the pizza emoji
to the Domino’s account (@dominos). An emoji is simply a small digital image, which, in the case of the pizza emoji, is a slice of pizza. Once Domino’s receives the tweet, a direct message will be sent to the person confirming the order. The individual must approve the order before the pizza is officially ordered. 

Is it a Contract? 

A valid, enforceable contract is created when four elements exist: 

1. Offer: a party must make a definite, clear promise to do something;

2. Consideration: something of value must be promised in exchange for the benefit; 

3. Acceptance: the offer must be accepted. In most cases, the acceptance must be of the exact terms that were offered. If new terms are introduced, it is considered a counter-offer, which the person who made the original offer can accept, reject, or propose another counter-offer; and 

4. Mutuality: this is often referred to as a “meeting of the minds.” It means that both parties understand and intend to be bound by the terms of the contract. 

The act of tweeting the pizza emoji to Domino’s probably does not constitute a valid offer. Rather, it is likely an expression of interest or request for a proposal, both of which are not considered an offer. In other words, the tweeted emoji represents an individual stating that he or she is interested in purchasing a pizza and asking Domino’s what they can offer to satisfy that interest. 

While tweeting the emoji may not constitute a valid offer, individuals can still order pizzas through this method. This is because of the direct message requesting confirmation of the order. At this point, an offer with consideration has been made. Domino’s has promised to make and deliver a pizza in exchange for the amount of money it states the pizza costs in the confirmation message. When the individual responds positively confirming the order, acceptance has been completed. At that moment, the individual has agreed to pay the stated price in exchange for the pizza. 

Understanding contracts is important because they are a significant part of all of our lives. If you would like more information about the creation or breach of contracts, please contact a knowledgeable Schaumburg, IL civil litigation attorney today. Our firm represents individuals throughout the northwest suburbs, in communities such as Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. 

About the Author:

Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.



Appealing a Denial of Accidental Death Benefits

Web Admin - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

illinois denied insurance benefitsMany people carry life insurance or accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policies. These policies, which people can acquire through their employer or on the open market, may pay benefits in cases of accidental death. Unfortunately, life insurance policies comprise an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars, according to a report by the U.S. Treasury, and insurance companies have strong incentives to pay out as little as they can in benefits.

Often, that means denying legitimate life insurance claims on the basis of a “policy exclusion.” Policy exclusions are exceptions that insurance companies place into contracts that exempt certain situations from qualifying for payment. Common policy exemptions include suicides and deaths occurring within one year of the policy’s start. Companies can use these sorts of exemptions as pretexts for denying the payment of benefits.

Contesting a Denial

Even after the insurance company denies the claim, beneficiaries do have tools to appeal the decision. However, depending on the law governing the insurance policy, the tools may be expansive, or more limited in nature. For instance, plans through a person’s employer are often covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA places strict limits on how appeals take place.

Beneficiaries must appeal the decision through a special ERISA administrator before they can move into the regular court system. Beneficiaries with denied claims would do well to seek out a lawyer before filing their ERISA appeal because the actions that take place at that appeal can have strong impacts on a court case. Courts handling ERISA litigation often use evidence from the appeal when making their decisions. That means that if something is left unmentioned at that stage, it can be very difficult to convince the court to consider it later.

Plans purchased by an individual, rather than provided by an employer, will likely be governed by state law instead of ERISA. While this law is usually less restrictive, individuals should still be cautious when dealing with insurance companies. In state law cases, the beneficiary will likely sue the insurance company in an attempt to prove that their cases does not actually fall into the policy exclusion that the company is claiming.

If you have been the victim of a wrongful denial of a life insurance claim, get a written statement of the reasons for the denial, and seek help from an Illinois insurance attorney. Our firm serves clients across the northwest suburban area, including Schaumburg, Palatine, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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