One of the most important things that your disability attorney in Augusta can discuss with you is the fees relating to your long term disability case. It is very important that you understand how your attorney is paid for their services.
Your disability attorney in Augusta will handle your case on a contingency basis. This means that all of the fees and costs associated with the case will not be charged to you until a settlement is reached. At that time, all of your legal fees will come from the settlement. If your disability attorney in Augusta does not win your case, there will be no cost to you.
Understanding Your Fees
Attorney fees range from 25 to 40 percent of the final settlement. This percentage will include attorney fees and all associated costs. Your disability attorney in Augusta must explain to you before accepting your case how much their fees will run. It is very important to understand that fees may differ at different law firms. If you are not comfortable with what your attorney states their fees are for your case, you may want to shop around. However, it is important to remember that many low-cost attorneys are often new, inexperienced lawyers. Your attorney may also be willing to negotiate their fee structure. However, this will most likely depend on the complexity of your case. If you feel the percentage is too high, simply ask your disability attorney in Augusta if there is a way to reduce costs.
Can the Long Term Disability Insurer Pay the Attorney Fees?
If your long term disability insurance is covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the judge handling your case has the authority to require the insurance carrier to pay for your attorney costs. This is absolutely left to the discretion of the judge. The insurer will never offer to make this payment on your behalf. The Court will use five factors to determine if they will require the insurance company to pay for the attorney fees.
- Did the insurance company act in bad faith?
- Can the opposing party afford to pay for the attorney fees?
- Will charging the opposing parties these fees discourage other companies from acting in the same manner?
- Did the party who has requested the attorney fees obtain a benefit for other members covered by this insurance through their litigation?
- What were the merits of both parties pertaining to the case?
Your attorney will inform you if your case falls under ERISA protection and if they are going to ask the Court to require the insurer to over attorney fees. It is important to remember that these fees are just the fees that your attorney charges for their services and usually do not include any additional fees that you may have incurred preparing your case. If your long term disability plan is an individual plan that is not covered by ERISA, certain rules apply to attorney fees. This means that each party is responsible for their own attorney costs and fees.
How Expenses Are Covered During Your Case
There are many expenses that occur that are in addition to your attorney fees. These costs are covered by your attorney until your case is settled. When your case settles, you will be required to pay for these fees in addition to attorney costs. In some cases, if your case does not win, you will still have to cover these fees, even if you do not pay for the attorney costs. These fees may include costs for the following:
- Copies of medical records
- Costs associated with expert witnesses
- Costs associated with medical exams
- Travel expenses for the attorney
- Costs for copies, faxing, and mailing documents
- Costs for depositions
- Filing fees for the Court
There may be additional costs associated with your case that is not included in this list. When you sign your contract for services, make sure that you know what costs will be charged to you and at what rates. Your attorney should have all of this information as part of your contract. These are some of the areas that you may be able to negotiate lower fees. For instance, you may be able to obtain copies of your medical records at a discounted rate and provide them to your attorney. You may also be able to cover costs of the deposition up front. Again, it is important to speak to your attorney about these fees if you are trying to reduce the costs of your case. When your case settles, all of your costs will come from the settlement amount. Your disability attorney in Augusta will provide you with a detailed invoice of all of these costs when they give you the final settlement check.
Speak to a Disability Attorney in Augusta Today
If you are facing a battle with a long term disability insurance carrier over your right to receive benefits, you would benefit from speaking to an attorney. The Law Office of Wilkinson and Magruder, LLC will review your case and provide you with the information you need to fight for your benefits. Call 706.737.0771 and speak to a disability attorney in Augusta today about your rights to receive long term disability payments.