Derek R. Funk
Attorney Derek Funk primarily practices in the areas of disability insurance and insurance bad faith litigation. He advises physicians, dentists, corporate executives, attorneys and other professionals throughout all stages of the disability claims process and carefully monitors and manages each claim to ensure that our clients’ own occupation/specialty-specific disability benefits are not denied or wrongfully terminated.
Education and Bar Admissions
Mr. Funk graduated summa cum laude from Utah State University with a B.A. in Law and Constitutional Studies and minors in Philosophy and Latin. He received his J.D., cum laude, from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, graduating with High Pro Bono Distinction. During law school, Mr. Funk also completed externships with the litigation section of the Arizona Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division and with the Honorable Patricia A. Orozco at the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Mr. Funk is a member of the State Bar of Arizona and is admitted to practice in the Arizona Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona.
As several members of Mr. Funk’s family are professionals, he is very familiar with the dedication, time, and constant hard work it takes to develop a successful career, practice, and/or business. He understands that, as a medical/dental/legal professional or corporate executive, your practice/business is not only your biggest investment and your primary source of income—it is also a large part of your identity and a major part of your life.
Mr. Funk also understands that facing the loss of this identity, and the financial and lifestyle changes that accompany it, can be particularly challenging. At the same time, putting off filing a claim and engaging in work that is sub-par (due to the limitations of a disabling condition) can make things even more difficult—particularly if you are a physician or dentist who may be placing your own health and your patients’ health at risk, and exposing yourself to liability and licensing issues.
Many professionals in this predicament wonder, should I file a disability claim? And, if so, what are my chances of collecting disability benefits, given my particular condition? However, instead of reaching out and speaking to an experienced attorney who regularly handles answers these types of questions, they put off seeking answers. And because they don’t understand what options, if any, exist for them to earn income in the future if they do file a claim, they decide to just “tough it out” and stick with what they know, even if it’s not advisable for them to do so. Too often, we only hear from doctors after they’ve pushed the envelope too far and hurt a patient, placed their medical/dental license in jeopardy, reduced their hours or productivity to the point where their practice value has dropped significantly, and/or unknowingly prejudiced their rights to collect disability benefits. While Mr. Funk realizes that filing a disability claim may not be the best option for everyone, it is important for professionals to, at a minimum, thoroughly explore that option, and to do so when they first learn of a potentially disabling condition.
While there are resources out there (including our firm’s website) that describe what to expect when filing an own occupation/specialty-specific disability claim, Mr. Funk understands that even if they haven’t been putting off the decision to file, many professionals (particularly doctors) need answers quickly, and don’t necessarily have the time to research the claims process themselves and learn the ins-and-outs of a complex industry that they have previously had no exposure to.
Because of this, Mr. Funk makes a point to be approachable and available to professionals who have questions and want to talk through their options when facing a potentially disabling condition. As long as he’s in the office (and not under a deadline), he’s happy to set aside what he’s doing and take time out of his day to answer the myriad of questions professionals face during this difficult time. Mr. Funk also sets aside time to keep professionals up-to-date on the latest developments in the disability insurance industry through our website, writing articles for publications, and working with attorney Ed Comitz to prepare and deliver CEs and other seminars, in an effort to keep the professional community informed about what the disability claims process entails.
Publications & Recognition
Mr. Funk has always found the law fascinating and excelled as a writer from an early age. In particular, Mr. Funk has an aptitude for reviewing and examining complex ideas and arguments, and then conveying those ideas to his audience in a straightforward and effective manner.
Prior to starting law school, he had already published a lengthy undergraduate honors thesis on the role law plays in societies and, while attending law school, Mr. Funk was a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar and served as Articles Editor of the Arizona State Law Journal, where he published his Comment, Checking the Balances: An Examination of Separation of Powers Issues Raised by the Windsor Case. During law school, Mr. Funk also participated on his law school’s Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Team as a Brief Editor, and his team’s brief was awarded an Honorable Mention for Best Memorandum at the 11th Willem C. Vis (East) Moot Competition.
Since law school, Mr. Funk has utilized this strong writing ability to advocate for professionals filing disability claims. He has also written several articles discussing the challenges professionals face when filing a disability claim, including his most recent article (co-authored with attorney Ed Comitz), “10 More Legal Mistakes Professionals Make When Filing a Claim for Disability.” In addition, he regularly reviews and responds to the common questions our office receives from professionals related to the disability claims process, and was recently named a Top Valley Lawyer for 2017 by North Valley Magazine.
Mr. Funk lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, Natasha, and enjoys golf, basketball and watching sports in his spare time.