Many long-term disability attorneys use a contingency fee model, where they get paid only if you win your case, typically charging 25% to 40% of the case proceeds.
This arrangement is beneficial when seeking approval from your LTD insurance company, as it doesn’t require upfront payment for legal services.
Learn more about hiring a long-term disability lawyer and fee arrangements.
How Are Long-Term Disability Lawyers Paid?
Long-term disability attorneys usually get paid once your claim is settled.
If you win and receive a lump-sum settlement, your attorney takes a portion per the contingency fee agreement.
In cases with monthly benefits, lawyers charge a percentage of past-due benefits, which can be substantial for lengthy cases.
Be cautious of attorneys seeking a share of future benefits, as it could accumulate to a high fee over many years.
For ERISA-governed group disability plans, the federal judge can order the insurer to cover your legal fees if you sue them in federal court, particularly for misconduct.
In non-ERISA cases, like most individual plans, you’re responsible for attorney fees, but you only pay if you win your case.
Negotiating Long-Term Disability Attorney Fees
Negotiating your attorney’s fee is possible, especially with a strong long-term disability case supported by a treating physician’s opinion and objective evidence.
Even for challenging cases, attempting to lower the fee is worthwhile. You might reduce it from 40% of your award to 25%.
If the attorney’s terms don’t align, consider contacting another disability lawyer.
Agreeing on the fee before signing the representation and fee agreements is crucial. Negotiating after your case concludes can bind you to the agreed-upon long-term disability lawyer fees.
Expenses: How Much Do Long-Term Disability Lawyers Charge?
After your case ends, you’ll probably reimburse your attorney for costs like medical records, depositions, and travel expenses, in addition to their contingency fee.
Ensure you grasp which costs the agreement covers, even if your case doesn’t succeed.
Your attorney should provide an itemized list of expenses when billing, so watch out for unrelated costs like “overhead.”
What If the Cost for My Disability Attorney Is Excessive?
Under contingency fees, attorneys don’t earn money on losing cases, making the average cost for a disability lawyer higher than hourly or flat-fee arrangements due to the risk.
However, state bar associations restrict excessive fees in contingency cases.
Attorney compensation must reasonably match the work done.
If you suspect excessive fees, talk to your attorney about a compromise or request a time breakdown.
If concerns persist, you can file a complaint with your state bar association.
Why Should I Hire a Long-Term Disability Attorney?
Experienced LTD attorneys excel in building strong cases with vocational and medical evidence, meeting deadlines, negotiating with insurers, and potentially filing lawsuits.
Insurance companies often prefer claimants without lawyers, making it easier to deny claims without sufficient reason.
Therefore, it’s wise to hire an attorney, especially with no upfront cost for their services.