One of the most common reasons that people hesitate to consult an attorney following a personal injury or other loss is the fear that the attorney’s fees could consume a substantial portion of whatever award they receive. However, in nearly all cases the enhanced rewards you receive coupled with the stress and uncertainty you avoid more than make up for the reasonable fee an attorney may request. This is particularly true in the case of VCF claims where attorney fees are legally capped at a fixed percentage of your recovery.
The Zadroga Act and the accompanying regulations establish several strict limitations on the manner and amount attorneys can charge for assisting clients with their VCF applications, representing clients at VCF hearings or providing other related services:
- Attorneys cannot charge a fee that exceeds 10 percent of the total compensation that the claimant receives.
- Attorneys must include routine expenses, such as postage and photocopy charges, as part of their overall fees. They cannot exceed the 10 percent cap by adding these incidental charges to the bill.
- The Special Master does permit attorneys to seek reimbursement for the cost of obtaining medical records to the extent that those costs reflect the amount charged by the custodian of those records, that they were obtained specifically for VCF purposes and that the request was appropriately limited for those purposes.
Considering the delays that can result from an avoidable initial denial — as well as the monetary losses that can come from providing insufficient evidence to fully support a valid claim —consulting an attorney is a wise decision. The lawyers of Barasch & McGarry have been assisting VCF claimants since the beginning and strive to provide value and peace of mind to each client.