The first thing to remember when you’re trying to get a disability lawyer to do your case is to make sure you’ve got all the relevant facts.
You may have a good idea of what to ask, but there’s no point having that information if you can’t get an answer.
If you’re worried about your lawyer’s response, you may want to speak to someone else, a lawyer with experience in disability law, to discuss your questions.
Disability Law, a website dedicated to providing legal advice to disabled people, has put together a handy guide on how to find the right lawyer.
It covers a lot of ground, from the basics of what you should ask to when and how to ask them, but it also offers some useful tips on how you can get your disability lawyer’s attention.
Be polite and courteous When you meet your lawyer, make sure they understand that you need a hearing, and that you want one.
This may sound obvious, but the way you answer them can be crucial to whether or not your lawyer will be willing to take your case.
“If you do not respond with ‘yes’ to any of my questions, it means you don’t want to be involved in this process,” said Natalie, who is a lawyer and a member of Disability Law’s group of lawyers.
“It means you want to move on to another issue, if you want.”
If you’ve made any progress, the lawyer will then take it as a good sign that you’re doing well.
Ask if your disability is a mental disorder If your disability has a diagnosis, it’s a good practice to ask if it’s considered a mental disability, as this may give your lawyer an idea of the level of support you need.
“The only time I would suggest you do this is if you know your lawyer is not taking your case, but if you are, ask,” said Amy, who works as a legal secretary for a small company.
Ask for copies of any court documents Your lawyer should ask you to provide copies of all the documents they need to show your case to a judge.
If your lawyer says no, you can take your claim to the court, which may not give a definitive ruling on whether your claim is valid.
If the disability isn’t a mental illness, ask what support you have The best advice for someone who has a disability is to get as much support as possible.
“When you get a hearing and a hearing is granted, your lawyer may ask what assistance you have,” said Nellie, who helps with disability cases at Disability Law.
“They may also ask you what your life is like as a result of your disability.”
Don’t feel pressured to pay a fee If you have a disability, your rights will be protected and you will not be expected to pay for a disability legal representation.
If they’re asking for money, ask them if it will be covered.
It may sound like a bit of a hassle, but “it’s not,” said Sue, who was working as a lawyer in an office when she had a heart attack.
She was initially told her insurance would cover the cost of her hearing and legal representation, but after that, her insurance stopped paying, so she had to take the money to the bank.
She paid for the hearing and lawyers fees and the costs of a new car.
If possible, get a second opinion If your disabled friend or relative has a different opinion, it may be worth asking if you have the same rights as someone else with a disability.
“People with disabilities may feel pressure to get more than one lawyer for a case, so it can be hard to find someone who will be able to represent you in the same way,” said Natacha, who has an older brother with cerebral palsy.
“Make sure you get as many as you can.”
Get legal advice about the costs and risks of being treated in hospital If you need help getting a hearing or a lawyer to take part in your case because you’re in hospital, it might be worth taking your disability case to the Court of Appeal to see whether there’s a better way to handle the matter.
“Many people don’t think that it’s possible to be treated in a hospital for a mental health issue,” said Lucy, who lives in Liverpool.
“But if you’re being treated for a physical problem or a medical condition, you’re going to have the most difficult time.”
Keep track of your claims and claims details If you do have a claim or a claim details, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for your lawyer to follow through.
You can keep track of all your claims, and it’s worth looking up the legal claims form in the court system.
You also can use this handy online tool to check your claims information. 9. Ask