Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost?
For OWCP cases, attorneys can only charge reasonable hourly rates. Contingency fees are expressly prohibited, so if an attorney asks for a percentage of your award, run away! Fortunately, attorney’s fees go through a approval fee process and require the client’s consent. However, the client is responsible for paying the attorney, not OWCP, even if you win. At the Boettcher Law Firm PC, we provide our clients with highly detailed monthly billing statements so there are no surprises. The hourly rate largely depends on the complexity of the case, the likelihood of success, and where the case sits in the administrative process. For example, ECAB hearings require significantly more work than filing a reconsideration letter. If you want to know how much it would cost to pursue your case, contact us and tell us about your case!
How long does it take?
As with all things in the legal world, it depends. Some cases only require small adjustments to paperwork for the claim to process smoothly, other cases require developing significant amounts of medical evidence and testimony. For deadlines, there is only a 30-day window to request a hearing while claimants get an entire year to file for reconsideration. OWCP processes claims fairly quickly for a government agency. Claims can be processed quickly or they can take years, again, it depends on the case’s specific facts. However, it’s best to hire an attorney early, rather than later, to make sure your claim is solid before lasting damage is done.
Do I qualify for benefits?
An employee seeking benefits under FECA has the burden of establishing the five essential elements. To file a claim you must:
- Be an employee of the United States government;
- File a claim within applicable time limits;
- Sustain an injury;
- The injury must be related to the employee’s work; and
- The disability and/or specific condition is causally related to the employment factors with rationalized medical evidence.
On any claim for disability or death compensation, the injured employee must file the written claim for compensation within three years after the injury. However, if you are injured, and you promptly and properly report the injury within 30-days of the occurrence, you can usually extend the three-year filing requirement.