We were recently contacted by an over the road truck driver who is based out of Georgia, but hurt in an accident in Illinois. Since it happened downstate we referred him to a lawyer down there that has a great track record and in my opinion gives him the best chance for a good result. He also has a long history of success working with truck drivers.
What makes this case a bit different is that before he contacted me the injured worker called and hired a law firm in his town in Georgia. His wages are pretty high, but apparently down in GA the weekly TTD benefit checks are capped at a little over $500. He asked his lawyer if he could get higher benefits in Illinois and was told that he could not.
That was lie number one. While we do have a weekly cap, it’s more than double what it is in GA. Fortunately this man was smart enough to not take his lawyer’s word for it when it came to legal advice in a state he isn’t licensed in. I let him know that in Illinois he could get higher benefits and the fact that he filed a case in his home state doesn’t prevent him from filing here.
I then referred him to the downstate lawyer who had a few conversations with him. The worker is a very smart guy and realizes that he stands to immediately get a higher benefit in IL for TTD payments, both retroactively and in the future. But he was hesitant to switch his case here for one reason. He asked us how much the settlement might be and we told him we weren’t sure yet because he’s still treating and we don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be. He then relayed that his current lawyer told him that the case was worth $150,000.00.
Well, that was lie number two. My partner advised him to go back to the lawyer and demonstrate how he arrived at that figure. He did and of course the attorney couldn’t back up his bravado. We see that in Chicago all of the time where firms will tell you what you want to hear instead of the truth. They expect you to be dazzled by the big numbers and not question the process itself. It must work because it happens time and time again.
The GA lawyer may have told a third lie because he told the client it was important to go to a hearing ASAP. I’m not licensed in Georgia so perhaps it’s true, but when a client is receiving all of their medical and lost time benefits, the only reason to go to a hearing is to lock the case for a lawyer who is trying to earn a fee.
I have always operated under the theory of do what’s best for the client and things will work out, even if we don’t make a penny on the case. Often that means helping you realize that your current representation is doing a great job. Other times it means telling you the hard truth even if it will turn you off and make you look elsewhere for representation.
This liar will live to see another day and b.s. other clients. But I wonder if he ever thinks that his business and karma would be so much better if he was just honest.