Finding a lawyer can be a daunting prospect. Lawyers are specialized and it is important that you find one who deals specifically with your type of legal issue. This is particularly so when dealing with a disability, which can have varied definitions based on specific programs and statutes. Protect your rights by finding a qualified lawyer that is knowledgeable about your specific type of issue.
For example, there is a legal difference between dealing with a disability that makes you unable to work at all and a disability that simply limits your ability to work. An inability to work may underlie a claim for disability benefits (essentially, supplemental financial assistance) whereas a limitation on your ability to work may result in a claim for unemployment discrimination whereby your employer must make reasonable accommodations to allow you to work.
To oversimplify, it might be the difference between being completely blind (which may result in a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits claim) or vision impaired (which may result in an Americans with Disabilities Act claim).
What Should I Look for in a Disability Lawyer?
The first thing you should consider when hiring a disability lawyer is whether the lawyer is qualified in dealing with your type of disability issue. Beyond that, you should consider whether the lawyer is in good standing and is a professional when dealing with your case.
Does the lawyer treat you with respect and return your communications timely? Does the lawyer seem rushed when speaking to you about your case? How are staff treated? You want a lawyer who personally and professionally will treat your case with the level of attention and importance you feel it deserves.
Where Can I Find a Disability Lawyer?
The internet has made it easier to find service providers, like attorneys. The disability legal practice is quite broad so there are likely to be listings of lawyers in different places.
If you are suffering from a disability, it is likely that you are also economically hampered by the ability to pay for legal counsel. The good news is that there are legal clinics and legal aid centers that offer free or reduced legal help for persons with limited income. For example, many law schools will offer legal services through their clinics. Check your local law school clinics to determine if there is one that handles disability issues.
There are also legal aid centers and local bar associations that can assist you in finding a disability lawyer. These reduced cost legal services may be able to help you navigate the different disability benefits rules and help you fill out necessary paperwork to help you get the benefits you need without delay.
Many disability claims can be handled quickly if the paperwork is filled out correctly or you are able to adequately explain why your circumstances meet the criteria for benefits payment.
As well, there are many lawyer referral services from which you can choose to find the right disability lawyer for your situation. If you feel you need to file a lawsuit to protect your rights, consulting with a lawyer is a good first step.
Hiring a Disability Lawyer: What is The Nature Of Your Claim?
As indicated above, disability laws are quite complex and often touch on a variety of other areas of law. So before you hire a lawyer for your disability claim, it’s important to understand the nature of your claim so you find the right one.
A lawyer who specializes in your disability doesn’t need to spend as much time getting up to speed on the law in order to determine the best legal steps for you. That can also significantly affect how much you end up paying the lawyer out-of-pocket to pursue your claim. They may also have access to the best experts in the field and be able to let you know what sort of outcome you can expect in your situation.
For example, a lawyer who regularly assists clients in handling SSI claims may not be the right lawyer to handle a claim against your employer for failure to provide wheelchair accessibility under the ADA. That is because one is a disability benefits lawyer and the other is a disability discrimination lawyer.
One may be well-versed in dealing with the Social Security Administration and the other in dealing with the ADA and employment law. To further complicate things, let’s say that your landlord fails to provide a rental unit that is ADA compliant. In that case, you may need to hire a real estate lawyer with ADA knowledge or perhaps a lawyer who can help you protect your civil rights.
Should I Consult With a Lawyer to Help with My Disability Related Lawsuit?
Disability issues can impact different areas of the law so it is important that you find a qualified lawyer who can expertly handle all aspects of your case. You might even consider reaching out to some of the free and reduced costs services like local legal clinics and legal aid centers. In any event, consider consulting with a legal expert in a timely fashion to ensure that you are protecting your rights.