So this guy calls me and here’s the gist of what he said when I asked him what his situation is:

“I currently have a claim and am being represented. I received a back injury which has resulted in surgery, physical therapy, and currently, an intensive job search per my restrictions. Dr. Says 20lbs weight limit, no repetitive bending, twisting, or squatting. It’s only been a week, but something tells me that I could be on my way down to disability lane.  I’m 40 years old and healthy otherwise with plenty of life ahead. My question is, what do you think the value of my case might be?  I have an awesome work comp lawyer, I just find it hard to talk to him at times, he’s like the freakin CIA or something.”

I didn’t tell him what I thought the case was worth.  But I did ask him what was so “awesome” about his lawyer if he can’t ask these questions to him or is hard to talk to?  I didn’t get a real response.
I’m happy to talk to anyone about their case.  A lot of times I can talk people off the ledge and help them realize that their attorney is actually doing a good job.  Other times we discuss my firm or someone in our network taking the case over an putting it on the right track.  And for some people we’ll just answer a question.
But if you have a lawyer who is going to get 20% of your settlement and has access to all of your medical records, they are the best people to tell you what your case is worth.  I find it completely bizarre that someone can love their lawyer when they don’t feel that they can go to them and answer your questions.
The job of an Illinois work comp attorney is to represent and look out for their clients.  That doesn’t mean that they are there for you and you alone 24/7, but it does mean that they have an obligation to answer your questions, treat you with respect and fight for your best interests.
The reality is that this lawyer isn’t great.  Maybe he did something good for the client at some point, but if he isn’t approachable then he needs to find a new line of work.
It’s especially true when you have a major injury like this guy appears to have.  Demand good service from your lawyer.  If you were in a restaurant and they made you wait for 30 minutes before they gave you a menu and then took two hours to bring out your food, you wouldn’t go on Yelp and give a great review.  You’d probably leave after 15 minutes.  If your attorney isn’t approachable and talking to them doesn’t make it better then it’s probably time to move on.  You’ll probably never realize how much better things can be otherwise.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

By Michael Helfand