We all remember the story of the boy who cried wolf.  When a wolf was finally coming, nobody believed him and things didn’t work out so well.
Well, I got asked to take over (and I declined) a case that is similar.  Seems this disgruntled worker kept on telling his co-workers that he needed to have a work injury so he could stop working.  He claims he was only joking and that he has an odd sense of humor, but the day before his accident he told a co-worker that he was going to get hurt the next day.
Sure enough he fell off of a ladder and injured his low back. He has a recommendation for surgery.  It actually sounds like the injury was legitimate.  But three of these fellow employees believe that he intentionally fell off the ladder as he saw it as a paid vacation.
The insurance company denied his case and now it’s his word versus theirs.  He has to prove the case and there is really good evidence against him.  Now his lawyer won’t take his case to trial and he’s really out of options other than to accept a $500 offer that the insurance company made for him to go away and settle the case on a disputed basis.
Any time you are seen as a liar, your case goes down the drain.  We and the attorneys in our network view our clients as an extension of our firms.  We’ll treat you like family, but if you are going to make our other clients look bad then it’s not worth working with you.  We’d be hurting their cases if we got a reputation of being willing to represent people that will make up stories or commit insurance fraud.
As you make a decision to hire an attorney, there is no way to know who will represent anyone, but trust us when we tell you that if an Arbitrator or insurance company is on the fence when it comes to your benefits, they’ll use who you hire as a law firm against you if they can.  That’s why we’d never think short term by taking on the case of someone that could hurt all of our clients in the long run.
The number one piece of advice that we can give anyone with an Illinois work injury is to be honest.  Don’t tell doctors or Arbitrators or anyone else what you think they want to hear, just tell the truth.  Make sure to report the injury to your employer ASAP.  Give a consistent history of how you got hurt to anyone that asks.  You might be under video surveillance so don’t tell your doctors one thing about your pain and then go and do something your doctor would believe you physically shouldn’t be able to do.
It’s only when you have to remember what the truth is instead of telling it that you get in trouble.  Good things typically happen to good people.  And we don’t know any good lawyers that will work with bad people.

By Michael Helfand