Q. Is there a fee to file a claim?
Q. May a completed claim form be sent via fax or email?
A. It is preferred for the original, signed claim form, with all supporting documentation, to be mailed to the address set forth on the claim form. If the claim is being mailed via regular or certified mail, the post office box address should be used. If the claim is being sent via delivery, such as Federal Express or UPS, the street address should be used. A claim form may be scanned and emailed, or faxed, together with all supporting documentation, however, if the information is not legible, the Staff may request the original claim form and supporting documentation to be mailed.
Q. Does a claimant need an attorney to represent them with the filing of a claim?
A. No. An attorney is not required to represent a claimant with the filing of a claim. In certain circumstances, it may be helpful to have the assistance of an attorney when filing a claim. If an attorney is retained for assistance with the filing of a claim, the attorney is not permitted to collect a fee for such assistance, unless the Board of Trustees has approved the fee. [Pa.R.D.E. 514(c)] If a fee is subsequently approved, the payment of the fee is the responsibility of the claimant.
Q. Will the attorney named on the claim form receive notice of the filing of the claim?
A. Yes. A copy of the completed claim form and supporting documentation will be provided to the attorney, who will be given the opportunity to respond to the claim.
Q. Will the claimant receive a copy of the attorney’s response?
A. Yes. The claimant will be provided with a copy of the attorney’s response and will be given the opportunity to comment on the response.
Q. How long does it take to have a claim processed?
A. We cannot offer a specific time frame as to when a claim will be reviewed for disposition by the Board. Both the claimant and the attorney will be notified when the claim has been scheduled for review. Claims are processed for review and disposition by the Board of Trustees in the order in which they are received. This is the most objective process for all claims filed with the Fund.
Q. Will there be a hearing?
A. Normally, claims are processed based upon the documentation that is provided by both the claimant and the attorney. A hearing may be held at the request of either the claimant or the attorney, which hearing will be granted at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.
Q. If a claim is properly filed, is an award guaranteed?
A. No. Awards are discretionary. No one has an entitlement to an award from the Fund.
Q. Is there a limit on the amount that may be recovered?
A. Yes. The Fund has a $150,000 maximum award per claimant. Effective February 24, 2014, a $1,000,000 aggregate cap per attorney was enacted. The Board may request the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to permit payments of awards relating to one attorney to exceed the $1,000,000 aggregate cap. The decision to seek such a waiver of the per attorney aggregate cap is within the Board of Trustees’ discretion. The decision to grant such a request lies solely with the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. [Pa.R.D.E. 514(b)] [Rule of Procedure 3.7]
Q. Once an award is approved, how soon will the award be paid?
A. Notice of the approval of the award will be provided to both the claimant and the attorney. The attorney may request a reconsideration and will have 30 days to do so. The claimant will be required to execute and return a Subrogation Agreement before an award will be paid. If the attorney does not request a reconsideration and the Subrogation Agreement is returned within the 30 days, the award will be paid at the beginning of the month following the receipt of the Subrogation Agreement, provided the 30 days has expired for the reconsideration request.
Q. What is the process for a request for reconsideration?
A. Either the claimant or the attorney may request a reconsideration of the Board of Trustees’ determination. The request must:
- Be made in writing;
- Be received by the Fund no later than 30 days from the date of the letter advising the party requesting the reconsideration of the Board’s decision;
- State the basis for the request for reconsideration; and
- Must include information or documentation that has not previously been considered by the Board.
Q. Is there an appeal process if a claimant or attorney disagrees with the Board’s determination?
A. No. Decisions by the Board of Trustees are final.