Every police procedural television show has a scene where a suspect is read their rights, including having a lawyer provided to them if they cannot afford one. Providing an attorney to those needing one is a genuine provision in criminal courts. Unfortunately, it does not exist in other areas of law – like the kind of law that governs Social Security disability benefits. A disability claimant choosing to retain a lawyer will need to pay for those services. So, how much back pay can a New Orleans disability attorney take? The law has hard limits on how much a disability attorney can charge for their services. The money generally isn’t collected until the case concludes, and back pay is awarded to the client. Disability attorneys can only charge 25 percent of the back pay collected, up to a maximum of $6,000, or whichever amount is lower. Let’s take a look at a few other things you should know.
Do I have to pre-pay my New Orleans lawyer to work on a disability case?
Federal law prohibits a disability attorney from collecting fees for their time before a case is complete. However, attorneys can open a trust account to cover some anticipated expenses, like paying for copies of medical records. Under Louisiana law, hospitals and other healthcare providers are limited in how much they can charge for copying medical records. Hard copies of paper or microfilm medical records will start at one dollar per page for the first 25 pages, 50 cents for 26 to 350 pages, and 25 cents for 351 pages and up. Digital copies largely follow the same pricing structure, but they have a maximum cap of $100.
X-rays are a little more nebulous. The statue says, ‘reasonable reproduction costs.’ A hospital can charge up to $20 for x-rays, with other providers maxing out at $10. The total cost of digital imaging copies cannot be more than $200 – including postage and handling charges.
An attorney will let their client know when they take money from the pre-paid account, and any remaining funds will be returned when the case is over.
Can a Louisiana disability lawyer ever charge more than $6,000?
The circumstances of any two disability cases can, and likely will, be vastly different from one another. More complex issues could require multiple hearings and multiple appeals. An attorney may be able to exceed the $6,000 limit. However, for this to happen, an attorney must file separate paperwork with the Social Security Administration. Only the SSA can approve charges over the $6,000 mark, and the overages must be deemed reasonable. Disability attorneys rarely need to file a fee petition with the SSA.
Retaining a lawyer is more likely to lead to favorable outcomes when applying for Social Security disability benefits. Make an appointment with one of our caring and experienced New Orleans disability attorneys today.
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