Looking for a long-term disability lawyer can feel like a daunting task. You may be wondering what questions you should ask in order to determine the best law firm option. As an experienced long-term disability law firm in Arkansas, we have compiled questions you should ask yourself and potential firms before hiring.
Am I Welcomed?
When looking for a disability lawyer, the very first thing you want to evaluate is how well you are treated over the phone. Are you welcomed and feel comfortable? You want to make sure that you’re dealing with an office that makes you feel like a person instead of a file number. Hiring a Social Security disability lawyer or an ERISA long-term disability insurance attorney will be a long-term relationship, and whoever you decide to hire will be with you for a long time.
Will a Lawyer Represent Me at My Hearing?
If you are looking for a social security disability lawyer a very important (and probably very surprising to most people) question you want to ask is, “If I hire your firm, will a lawyer represent me at my hearing?” You would assume that if you called a law firm, you’d get a lawyer. However, that’s not always the case. Many firms, national and otherwise, will send an advocate to the hearing with you. Under Social Security rules, you are not required to be represented by a lawyer. A non-attorney representative can represent you, but, there is no benefit to being represented by an advocate rather than a lawyer. They will charge you the same fee, yet they are not as well-trained or as well-educated in Social Security disability as an attorney.
Who Is the Lawyer Who Will Be Handling My Case?
An unseemly thing that most don’t know about in many social security disability firms is there is no lawyer assigned to your case. In big firms, your lawyer may be handled your file (along with 4-5 others) the day before your hearing. Some even get files the morning of the hearing.
Even worse, many of the “disability help” you see on TV or the internet who sound helpful, don’t actually have local lawyers. Instead, they just start calling lawyers a few days before the hearing and offer to pay them a relatively small amount to cover the most important hearing of your life.
Is this an expensive process?
You may be wondering how Social Security and long-term disability attorneys get paid and how expensive the process is. The claimant has no pay as you go expenses. These are on a contingent fee basis, so just like you hear on TV, if the attorney doesn’t win, they don’t get paid. Essentially, the attorney does not get paid until the client gets paid. Their fee is a percentage of any back payment that the client receives.
On the ERISA side, time is of the essence. Your disability policy will limit the time in which you must file an appeal and the number of appeals you can file. Timely filing an appeal and submitting a winning appeal letter is the key to getting your benefits. It’s important to be able to speak with the lawyer who will personally be drafting that letter.