10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Veterans Disability Lawyer

  1. Don’t immediately hire the first person you see. You must consider many factors before you decide which lawyer to hire to represent you. Remember, you may have been fighting for your disability benefits for 5, 10, 20, 30 years – or even longer. Don’t make the mistake of making a decision without considering all of your options. It pays to take your time when choosing a lawyer to represent you.
  2. Don’t hire a lawyer until you speak with him personally over the telephone at least two times. First, you should read over the materials from the lawyer. Second, you should read my article about mistakes to avoid when hiring a veterans disability lawyer. Third, you should call the lawyer and discuss your case with him. And then last, you should make an appointment with the lawyer for a telephone conference, with the agreement in front of you, to go over the agreement. This is the only way you and your lawyer can make sure that you understand the agreement and how the lawyer will handle your claim.
  3. Don’t hire a lawyer until he explains his assessment of your case. Before a lawyer can tell you whether you have a winner or loser, he needs to ask questions about your claim and discuss it with you in detail. Make sure you’re comfortable with the lawyer and what he recommends. Sometimes, the lawyer may not be able to know for certain, but make sure he is at least being candid with you.
  4. Don’t hire a lawyer who practices in many different areas of the law. The most qualified and experienced veterans’ disability lawyers work exclusively or mostly with vets on disability cases. They don’t merely dabble in veterans disability, and handle other types of cases too. Hire a lawyer who limits all or most of his law practice to veterans disability cases.
  5. Don’t hire a lawyer until he walks you through his agreement and explains every detail. You should not be expected to sift through pages of legalese by yourself. Nor should the lawyer have his secretary explain it to you. Make sure you go over the lawyer’s contract personally with the lawyer by telephone. And make sure you’re comfortable with his agreement. This is the only reasonable way a lawyer should offer his services to a disabled veteran.
  6. Don’t hire a lawyer unless you trust him completely. You and your lawyer will work closely on your case. And since your case has been denied, your lawyer will need to get your case remanded and then develop new evidence to prove your case. You already know your case won’t be easy to win because it has already been denied. Make sure you select a lawyer you know you can trust! Because if you don’t trust your lawyer, both you and your lawyer will not work together effectively.
  7. Don’t hire a lawyer unless he has experience working with veterans disability cases. Make sure you read case histories describing in detail other veterans’ disability cases the lawyer has handled. Make sure the lawyer answers all of your questions. Make sure you read any educational materials the lawyer provides to help veterans better understand the claims process. The more information the lawyer provides, the more knowledge and experience he can share with you–even if you don’t hire him.
  8. Don’t choose a lawyer based solely on clever, eye-catching advertisements. Any lawyer can print a color brochure or run a flashy TV commercial. But flashy advertising does not mean the lawyer is qualified to represent you. Historically, the biggest advertisers in the legal profession were personal injury or negligence lawyers. Many of them may be trying to dabble in veterans law without the commitment or experience. Make sure you ask questions about the attorney’s experience in handling veterans disability claims. I will be glad to talk with you about cases I have handled that are similar to your own.
  9. Don’t choose a lawyer who makes promises he can’t keep. No lawyer can predict the future. A lawyer may agree to represent you because he wants to help you. He is expecting to find a winning argument, but sometimes things don’t’ turn out as expected. Any lawyer who promises an outcome is making a promise he cannot keep.
  10. Don’t choose a lawyer unless he has litigated at least 200 cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Many law firms are jumping on the bandwagon of wanting to represent veterans. Most have slick advertising campaigns, but often these attorneys are personal injury or Social Security lawyers who have only recently decided to represent veterans. They often do not have the depth of experience at the highest levels of the appeals process. I would be very careful about hiring a lawyer who has not handled at least 200 cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.