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Red Flags to Look for When Evaluating an ERISA Long-Term Disability Attorney

After reading the files of a few lawyers claiming to "do" long-term disability claims, we felt we had to issuet his advice to warn others.

Here are a few red flags you should look for when hiring an ERISA attorney:

  1. No Claim Evaluation Before Signing Fee Agreement
    A denial letter review is the first step to evaluating your claim. ERISA attorneys should be able to review this letter from the insurance company and give you some options on how to move forward with your claim. Any attorney who needs to do “a little research” to evaluate your denial letter probably doesn’t have ERISA experience.
  2. Unwilling to Litigate Your Case After Failed Appeal
    Whenever you interview an ERISA attorney, ask them what will happen if your appeal fails. Few ERISA appeals end up in court, but your attorney should be prepared to litigate if your appeal is denied. If the potential attorney for your claim won’t answer this question directly, you should consult with other attorneys.
  3. High Flat Fee as the Only Option for Writing Your ERISA Appeal
    Attorneys can charge their clients on an hourly rate, flat fee, or contingency basis. All of these are perfectly acceptable ways to charge clients, but beware of attorneys who will only offer you a high “up-front fee, win or lose” option. If your attorney is open to charging a contingency fee (meaning, they only get paid if they win your case), then you can be sure they are taking your case because they believe they can win.
  4. Charging Clients for Time Spent “Researching ERISA”
    ERISA is complicated, even for experienced attorneys. In fact, your ERISA attorney may also be teaching the judge about ERISA cases because of how unusual the law is. But…your ERISA attorney should already know about ERISA law (seems like a no-brainer, right?). If your potential attorney needs to research ERISA, then you should look for someone with more experience. Under no circumstances should you pay for any line item called “ERISA research.”
Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized ERISA disability & life insurance attorney in Fairfax, VA.