When you are considering whether or not to hire an Orlando veterans’ disability lawyer, you may be factoring in hourly billing rates as one potential negative. However, attorneys’ fees are handled differently with veterans’ disability lawyers.
At the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A., we do not charge an hourly rate for these types of matters. In fact, all fee agreements must be approved by the Veterans’ Administration General Counsel office and regional offices. We are paid on a contingency basis, which means we do not take any fees unless we successfully recover benefits in your case. The Veterans’ Administration has precise guidelines they use in determining appropriate legal fees.
What Veterans’ Lawyers Can Request
An attorney can usually receive 20% of any back benefits they obtain on behalf of a veteran. That means if no back benefits are awarded in your case, your attorney cannot take any fees as future benefits are not eligible for attorney reimbursement. The maximum amount that the VA will approve is 33%. Also, the attorney does not take money directly from you as the veteran. Instead, they can only collect reasonable costs from the veteran claimant.
Fees won’t be paid to just anyone either. Under 38 USC. Section 5901-5902, 5904; 38 CFR Section 14.631, only someone accredited by the Veterans’ Administration as an attorney, agent, or another representative of a VA-recognized veterans service organization can assist in preparing, presenting, and prosecuting a claim for VA disability benefits.
Anyone who is not accredited is essentially prohibited by law from assisting you in preparing, presenting, or prosecuting a case before the VA. There may be special exemptions in some cases, but the general rule is no one who is not authorized.
Veterans’ Administration Appeals
It’s also important to point out that attorneys can only charge to work on appeal. When you meet with an Orlando veterans’ disability lawyer, they will explain the process, including how the fees work. Look at your contingency fee agreement. You should see something that the agreement is contingent on VA approval, which shows the attorney plans to abide by the VA rules.
Be sure to confirm what their position is on costs and expenses. Are you expected to pay those back, even if you lose? For example, these would be costs for obtaining medical records, expert witness fees, or doctors’ reports. No one wants to be responsible for those costs if the attorney doesn’t get any benefits for you.
Type VA Accreditation Required
The VA monitors attorneys who are representing veterans. Anyone holding themselves out as a VA disability lawyer must get approval through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This approval doesn’t guarantee the attorney is the best in their field, or you will automatically be successful. It just means that the VA has determined this attorney meets the legal requirements to represent you.
Contact an Orlando Veterans’ Disability Lawyer
If you need assistance with a veterans’ disability claim, let the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A., help. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.