One of the most common questions our office receives is: “How do attorney fees in a long term disability claim work?”
I can certainly understand the reasoning behind the question. If one of the long term disability insurance companies has stopped your benefits (or never paid your disability insurance claims in the first place), then you may not have any money to pay for an attorney. That is why our system of justice came up with the contingency fee agreement. It allows you to hire the disability insurance attorney of your choice without any up-front retainer. Instead, the fee is a percentage of your past due benefits. You can get help with your long term disability claim without taking any risks.
Why would you go out and hire an attorney at an outrageous hourly fee costing hundreds of dollars an hour whether you win or lose the case when you can hire the same attorney for a small percentage of the recovery with a no recovery, zero-fee guarantee?
I am continually amazed that many lawyers still have not abandoned what I consider to be the dinosaur of billing methods – the billable hourly rate. As a consumer, I recently had the opportunity to consult with a lawyer on a trusts and estate matter that was well out of my area of expertise. I was looking for a will or revocable trust. I was shocked to learn that many of the attorneys that I contacted were charging fees ranging anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per hour. Moreover, I would be billed per hour for each attorney working on the case. That meant that if I went to a conference with 5 attorneys, I could end up with a bill that would cost up to $5,000 an hour!
It was, therefore, no great surprise when I recently read in an attorney trade journal that billings at many large firms are way down and clients are seeking alternatives in fee arrangements. It appears the day of excessive hourly legal billings is going out of style and if those lawyers don’t adapt, then they may end up without future clients.
For my entire career, I have believed that an attorney should be rewarded if he is successful in obtaining a good result for his client. That means if there is no recovery, there should be no fee; and if there is a recovery, the lawyer should be entitled to a small percentage. I believe that attorneys who work on a contingent or contingency fee basis perform a valuable service to the public because they take cases that poor and middle-class clients could not otherwise afford to bring. I find that most clients dislike paying high hourly attorneys’ fees and that they like to tie their lawyer’s compensation to performance. It gives him added incentive to produce great results. Obviously, a contingent fee lawyer has an incentive to work harder on a case where he stands to earn a percentage of the recovery as a fee.
We Don’t Get Paid Attorney Fees in a Long Term Disability Claim Unless it is Successful
We handle most long term disability claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we charge a percentage of the amount recovered. It is contingent in that you owe us nothing if there is no recovery. If your internal administrative appeal is successful and your claim is reinstated during the appeal process, then our fee is a percentage of the back pay that is owed and a percentage of future monthly long term disability benefits for 12 months. We also advance costs and expenses.
If it is necessary to file a lawsuit in federal court, it’s slightly different:
- If it goes to court, and you are put on claim, meaning that the insurance company starts to pay you benefits, then our fee will still be a percentage of the past due LTD benefits that are owed and a percentage of future monthly long term disability benefits for 12 months.
- Often times the insurance company doesn’t want to put you on claim, but they want to settle your case for a lump sum amount. In that case, our fee is a percentage of the lump sum amount.
Ready for Help with Your Claim? Contact Long Term Disability Lawyer Nick Ortiz
Long term disability cases are complex, and it is easy to become overwhelmed when you are already battling with your illness or injury. A long term disability lawyer with extensive experience such as Nick Ortiz will guide you through the difficult process to obtain your insurance benefits. Let our disability lawyers worry about the insurance companies tricks and delay tactics.
Although located in Florida, Ortiz Law Firm represents claimants who have been denied disability across the United States. We handle Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims nationwide. If you would like to talk more about our attorneys’ fees, or you would like to learn more about the long term disability process with our firm, I encourage you to contact us online or call Ortiz Law Firm at (866) 853-7703.