I recently had a consultation with a very nice injured worker who had a very serious injury case. They really liked their lawyer, but for some reason he wasn’t very aggressive when it came to doing something about the tens of thousands of unpaid medical bills that he has.
This worker appears to be permanently disabled and while the lawyer had been mentioning that he’d recommend a settlement for a certain amount, out of the blue he called him with the offer from the insurance company and told them he needs to immediately accept it. He says this even though that amount is around $50,000.00 less than what he previously said the case is worth.
I don’t have enough information to tell you if the offer was a good one although from what the caller told me it seems like it was within the range of fairness.
What makes no sense is that the lawyer told him he had to immediately take the offer. This case is many years old and suddenly there is some urgency?
I can tell you that I’ve never seen an offer be taken off the table unless new evidence arises. There should never be a rush to take a settlement, especially in a case like this where the worker is getting TTD benefits still, has outstanding medical bills and will need what is called a Medicare Set Aside to pay for his future medical needs.
Beyond that, before any injured worker signs a settlement contract, they should know very clearly from their lawyer all of the details. In this case, the caller did not. He wasn’t sure what the lawyer fees were going to be. He didn’t know the expenses that the lawyer was claiming. It wasn’t clear if the lawyer was going to try to take money from the Medicare Set Aside. It wasn’t 100% clear what medical bills remained unpaid.
Everyone wants to settle a case if they can. I don’t get paid if I don’t settle your case or win at trial. I and every lawyer I know likes to get paid. But an attorney in Illinois work comp can’t rush through a settlement so they can get paid. The best interests of the client must always come first. It’s not in the best interests of the client to agree to a dollar amount and worry about the fine print later on.
You are the boss of your case. You are the one that has to be happy and live with the result. Don’t let anyone pressure you or rush you. If you aren’t happy with a settlement offer then you should wait or go to trial.