The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), is a federal law that requires private employers who offer pension and retirement plans to comply with certain standards. ERISA also allows employees and beneficiaries to sue if they were denied benefits or provided with false or misleading information about their plan. Unfortunately, the process of filing a claim under ERISA can be time-consuming and complicated, so if you were unfairly denied benefits or an administrator managed your plan negligently, it is important to contact an experienced ERISA attorney who can defend your interests.
ERISA only covers employee benefits, such as pension plans and welfare plans offered by private employers. Generally, pension plans are those established by an employer to provide retirement income to employees or which result in a deferral of income by employees extending to and beyond termination. Welfare plans, on the other hand, are established to provide beneficiaries with medical, accident, and disability benefits.
Although ERISA does not require employers to offer these types of benefits, it does require administrators to comply with certain rules regarding:
When administrators or employers fail to comply with these rules, ERISA gives beneficiaries the right to sue for denied benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
Although plaintiffs can bring a number of ERISA-based claims, the most common include:
However, only certain individuals can bring these claims, including:
Furthermore, if a plaintiff has a breach of fiduciary claim, he or she must bring it within six years. However, ERISA does not contain a statute of limitations provision for other types of claims, so courts usually apply the most closely analogous state law statute of limitations. Finally, ERISA claims must be brought in federal court, which has exclusive jurisdiction of ERISA claims (with the exception of a claim involving denied benefits or a claim to enforce or clarify rights, which can be litigated in state court).
Those whose rights under ERISA have been violated can file claims in federal court to recover benefits and in some cases, attorney’s fees, so if you have been denied benefits, please contact Michael Bartolic, LLP by calling (312) 635-1600 or by completing one of our short contact forms, including your name, email address, phone number, and a brief description of your case and a member of our dedicated legal team will help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced ERISA attorney who can evaluate your case.
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