FAQs

Entitlement to Benefits

Can I join the Legal Defense Fund as an individual?

No. The Legal Defense Fund is a group Plan.


What percentage of the member association must join?

While we encourage 100% membership, we will enroll an organization that enrolls 50% + 1 of its members. We encourage you to talk with the Administrator’s office for more information about the enrollment process.


Must all members be enrolled in the same Plan?

Yes. However, there may be unusual situations in which the Plan would allow members in different job assignments to enroll in separate Plans.


When can an association change Plans?

We have an open enrollment period during the second quarter of each year, which runs from April 1-June 30.


What happens if a participant laterals from one department to another?

If the participant goes from one department to another, both of which are represented by associations enrolled in the Legal Defense Fund, there is no break in coverage. The level of coverage is consistent with the Plan chosen by the new association.


Benefits

Is there a cap on benefits?

No. The LDF has spent more than $1,000,000 on a number of cases. The defense of peace officers in an era in which they are targets of harsh discipline, multi-million dollar civil actions and federal grand juries can be very expensive. In its entire history the LDF has never cut a members’ benefits because it was “too expensive.” This is a record that few legal plans can match.

The fact that we will do what it takes to win a case does not mean that we are free with our participant’s money. To the contrary, we employ panel attorneys who are committed to providing cost effective representation. We also maintain an extensive brief bank in order to avoid duplication of services.


Are letters of reprimand covered?

No. Your Board of Trustees long ago determined that the primary purpose of the Fund was to protect participants from serious discipline while keeping Plan rates affordable. That goal is inconsistent with providing representation for minor discipline.


What are, "All customary, necessary, and reasonable services related to an action, including where it appears reasonably probable that such an action will be commenced."?

With nearly over 40 years in the police defense business, the LDF is well aware that providing a representative does not ensure victory. That’s why, when appropriate, we pay for investigators, expert witnesses, polygraphers, transcripts, and other court costs. The intelligent use of litigation aids separates the LDF from other plans.


Who provides the representation?

The LDF maintains a panel of the most experienced attorneys and lay representatives in the areas in which it provides services. These providers are the recognized experts in the field. You will find their names on all the leading peace officer rights cases and on the faculty of police academies.


Claims Procedure

How does one file a claim?

Simply call (888) 556-5631. You will briefly speak with a case coordinator who will determine your eligibility for benefits. If the case is coverable you will be referred to your association’s designated provider. Most calls take no more than four minutes.


What if I am involved in a critical incident outside of normal business hours?

Our 24-hour a day, 365 day-a-year hotline is available for all critical incidents ranging from shootings, to in custody deaths, to vehicle pursuits resulting in serious injury. When you call (888) 556-5631 you will get an answering service which will then put you in touch with the Administrator. In most cases the Administrator can get an attorney call-out within 15 minutes.


What if there is a problem with my provider?

Our experience has taught us that not every public safety officer likes every lawyer. While we encourage participants to use the providers designated by their association so that they will receive the benefit of that provider’s knowledge and experience with their department, we know that sometimes that is not possible. We do our best to accommodate the needs of all participants in finding a provider that will be most suitable. In addition, we have a complaint procedure. The procedure for filing a complaint can be found in Article VII of the Plan Document.


What happens when a participant is unhappy with a decision made by the Administrator?

This is plan conceived and run by working public safety officers. If you are unhappy with a coverage decision or other decision made by the Administrator you have a right to file a benefit appeal. The procedure for doing that can be found in Article V, Section 6 of the Plan Document


Are conversations with my provider confidential?

Yes. See Article VI, Section 3 of the Plan Document.