For New Jersey residents who have privately bought disability insurance on their own or are taking part in a group plan offered by employers, it can be confusing and worrisome when they are injured, ill or disabled and they realize that they need to use the benefits. With these cases, it is imperative to understand the federal law when it comes to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, also referred to by the acronym ERISA.

When there are disputes about these cases, it is vital to have legal assistance from a law firm that understands all aspects of disability and ERISA. In general, there are notable similarities between ERISA and non-ERISA disability claims. The differences can be crucial to a case and it often requires legal help to understand them – especially when the person needs the benefits.

Based on an ERISA claim, the person will have limited rights and remedies. A lawsuit cannot be filed against the insurance provider until other appeal alternatives have been exhausted. Evidence has certain restrictions that can be limiting. There is no jury trial. And the person cannot collect punitive or damages that go beyond the contract. As for a non-ERISA claim, the person can file a lawsuit that seeks coverage benefits and other damages if there was bad faith. There are the normal evidence and discovery rules. And the person can have a jury trial.

Because a circumstance in which a person is seeking to collect on an ERISA or non-ERISA plan can be difficult to understand, having legal advice to navigate the process is one of the most important decisions he or she can make. Calling a law firm that specializes in disability and ERISA can be beneficial in myriad ways. Before making a mistake, calling for a consultation is key and should be the first step.