There is a good concentration of workers’ compensation attorneys in Chicago, and if your case is going to be assigned to the Chicago hearing location, then we’d almost always recommend one of these local attorneys.
All claims are filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission at their main location downtown Chicago. The claims are then distributed among the various hearing locations throughout the state. Your location will be the one closest to where you were injured, or if that isn’t applicable, then the location closest to your home. For Cook County, the hearing location is Chicago; for Lake County, it’s in Waukegan; and for DuPage County, the hearing location is in Wheaton. Other hearing locations include Peoria, Decatur and Rockford. There are others, as well.
Most Illinois work injury lawyers focus their practice on representing workers who are assigned to the hearing location near their offices. That said, many of them will travel elsewhere in the state to handle cases if necessary. Although location matters, it ultimately comes down to finding the attorney who is a good match for you and your case.
The most important criteria are, in our opinion, the attorney’s experience and their familiarity with the arbitrator hearing your case. So usually this means that a local attorney is best. If your attorney knows the arbitrator (the judge in a workers’ compensation case), it can give you an advantage. Obviously, it’s not going to help you out if the attorney isn’t well respected, so that’s an important part, too.
We have a network of workers’ compensation attorneys throughout the state of Illinois who have experience in the various hearing locations. We believe this is key, especially if your case goes to trial.