One of the biggest mistakes I can make as an attorney is to assume that a caller or reader knows something that I consider to be a basic fact.  It’s not your job to know what the law is, but instead it’s my job to educate you on the law and advocate your interests.
I (wrongfully) have assumed that everyone who calls us understands that there is no fee unless we are successful on the case.  One caller knew that our fee is 20% of what we get for them as a settlement, but still thought that they’d have to put money down up front.  It was kind of sad actually because the insurance company had really been taking advantage of him including not paying him his TTD benefits for the time he missed from work.  Since he didn’t have money coming in, he didn’t think he’d be able to afford an attorney so the cycle of abuse by the insurance company continued as he hesitated calling a lawyer.  He stumbled upon our blog and fortunately reached out to us.
So to be as clear as I can, you should never, ever have to pay a lawyer even a penny up front for an Illinois workers’ compensation case.  Period.  You should never not hire a work comp law firm because you don’t think you can afford it.  It’s a non-issue.
On top of all of that, you’ll always end up with more for a settlement when you have an attorney in your corner.  And that doesn’t even touch on how we can prevent some of the abuses or out and out violations of the law (e.g. a nurse case manager talking to your doctor) that take place.
None of this guarantees you a result on your case and we typically find that a law firm that does promise an outcome is usually sketchy.   But you should never fight with one hand tied behind your back and that’s what you are doing if you don’t get representation.  And you certainly shouldn’t put yourself in that situation because you don’t think you can afford it.

By Michael Helfand