Do I need a lawyer to help me apply for my short- or long-term disability claim?
Both short- and
long-term disability claims involve pretty straightforward forms for both you and your doctor(s).
The advantage of using a lawyer with the application process is that,
through his or her advice, you can be made aware of the pitfalls of ERISA
and the tactics often employed by insurance companies and carriers.
How do I choose a lawyer to represent me with my disability case?
Choosing a lawyer is just like choosing a doctor, accountant or any other
professional. First, you must research the lawyer and his or her firm.
The internet can be useful in that respect. Look for websites which are
heavy on content, with helpful information. Then you should speak with
the firm: start with the intake personnel, then with the lawyer. Lastly,
in talking with the lawyer, you must determine whether the firm has a
real understanding of your disability. Assuming that you are inclined
to hire the lawyer, review the firm’s fee agreement, seeking explanations
of what you don’t understand and negotiating those elements that
need to be modified. ERISA Law Center believes that this introduction
process is the gateway to a successful attorney-client relationship.
Do all ERISA disability lawyers work on a contingency basis?
No. Some disability lawyers work on an hourly or “flat fee”
basis; some work on part contingency and part payment. ERISA Law Center
accepts most of its cases on a contingency arrangement so that the client
is never required to pay fees until benefits are reinstated, but we are
always willing to negotiate an hourly or flat fee agreement with a client
who wants such an agreement.
Do contingency fees advance costs in disability cases?
Costs in an administrative appeal can run from $500 to $5,000, depending
on whether testing is needed for the claimant. Costs in litigation can
be higher. Often, a contingency fee lawyer will require the client to
advance the costs up front. At ERISA Law Center, we advance all the costs
whether in appeal or litigation. If the case is won, the client reimburses
those costs from his or her winnings. If the case is lost, you pay nothing.
Can an ERISA attorney work in more than one state?
Yes. At ERISA Law Center, Attorney Robert Rosati is admitted to practice
in over 25 different federal courts in the United States and has appeared
pro hac vice (meaning an appearance on a single occasion) in many other
Federal district courts.
Does it matter whether I hire a lawyer who lives in my state or lives near me?
No. ERISA claims are primarily involved in reviewing, analyzing and presenting
evidence for the client’s “administrative record,” which
is a collection of medical records, insurance company records and more.
These tasks do not require the lawyer to personally meet with you. Even
when a lawsuit is filed, the key is that same administrative record. When
depositions are required and permitted, most or all of the witnesses who
need to be deposed (the doctors who reviewed your records and wrote reports,
the insurance company’s claims personnel, and others) are not where
you are. They are scattered around the country. As such, any lawyer who
represents you will have to travel to take such depositions.