You may wonder, “How does your ERISA long term disability lawyer get paid in these ERISA disability cases?” Now think about this— person who is not able to work because of a physical or mental disability and they’re not bringing in any income, but they’ve got this long-term disability insurance policy that promises to pay 60% of their salary. How do they get that money?
When Does it Make Sense To Hire An ERISA Long-Term Disability Lawyer?
When people do these appeals on their own, they get denied. Then by the time you get the Federal District Court, there’s not enough information in the administrative record to support the claim. So the claim dies and goes nowhere.
So this person is essentially just left with Social Security Disability. SSDI usually requires being out of work for about a year before you can even get it. Or doctors to say that you’re lifetime-disabled because of a recognized disabling condition that they have a list of in Social Security Disability.
If you have Social Security Disability, you might get $1,100, $1,200, $1,500 a month to pay for that. But if you’ve got a long-term disability policy and you are a higher earner, you can make more. Let’s say you make $4,500 a month, then you should be getting about $3,000 a month in long-term disability benefits from your insurance company. That’s a big difference. $3,000 a month versus $1,500 a month makes a big difference in the life of ordinary people.
How Does An ERISA Long-Term Disability Lawyer Get Paid?
So how does your ERISA long term disability lawyer get paid in that case? And how much is the lawyer going to cost?
If you think about it, you don’t have any money to go out there paying an attorney for every hour that he or she spends in your case. So what the attorneys does, in most situations, is charge a contingency fee. So if we get you a lump sum back-pay settlement, our fee is one-third of that.
For example, If I get you $9,000 in back-pay, our fee is $3,000. If you’re getting paid $3,000 a month, then my fee is $1,000 every single month while you were on claim. Remember, without the work that we did to get you on claim, then you wouldn’t have that $3,000 a month. It’s really a difference of get $2,000 a month or get $0 a month if you don’t do everything the right way to appeal your long-term disability claim.
I can say that because I’m confident in the processes and systems that we have implemented in appealing these long-term disability denials. We’ve seen great success in following the same process every single time. Even though the medical condition is different, or the treating doctors are different, we follow the same exact process. Every single time we appeal a long-term disability claim, we follow the same exact process. That process has been successful in a vast majority of our cases.
Should I Hire An Attorney for My Long-Term Disability Appeal?
Hiring an attorney for a disability case is highly valuable. My clients who are disabled could have put together an appeal package of the same quality that I do. I’m not saying that arrogantly. I saying that confidently. I can say without hesitation that hiring an attorney to represent you is worth it.
So the attorney gets paid a contingency fee. This is usually one third of whatever back-pay benefits and any ongoing benefits that are recovered because of the attorney’s efforts. Plus, there are usually some costs. It’s always important to distinguish between a fee and a cost. They are two different things.
A cost may be, paying a doctor for a medical narrative. That might cost me $500, or it might cost me $1,000. But if we don’t get that medical narrative, then you will not win your case. It’s money well spent, but that cost is not taken out of the fee.
That cost is taken out on top of the fee. The attorney may advance that cost for you, but the attorney has to get paid back that cost in the future when the case resolves or when money comes in.
When you may owe money to an attorney
If your attorney loses, then you won’t owe a fee at all, because if it’s a contingency fee. If the contingency is not met, the lawyer is taking all the risk at the end of the day. So if you lose the case, the lawyer took that risk and did a ton of work for absolutely $0.
Now, depending on the attorney, you may owe your costs back. If the attorney spends $1,500 on your case and you still lose, you need to look at your retainer agreement to make sure that you understand what it says. If the retainer agreement says that you have to pay that cost back, then you have to pay that cost back, win or lose. So it’s important to understand and distinguish between a fee and a cost.
I hope this article has been helpful. If you have questions, send me an email. I’d love to talk to you.