Although I’ve only represented injured workers for as long as I can remember, my first job out of law school was as an Illinois workers’ compensation defense firm. It’s great training because you are taught how to present a full analysis of a case and all of the issues as compared to many firms for injured workers where young associates are just handed files and told to “figure it out.”
I still have good friends from my old firm. While many of them are ruthless and hardcore when it comes to defending the cases they handle, out of court they are fun and normal family people.
But one thing I’ve learned from representing injured workers as well as working in a defense firm is that most of them, unless they hate the other attorney or injured worker, don’t really care that much what happens on a case. Often they’ll get someone in their firm to cover a deposition or even a trial which means that someone who isn’t overly familiar with your case might be the one asking you questions at a trial.
That’s not at just some defense firms, but at every one that I’ve seen.
This is why sometimes we’ll ask clients to show up to court so the other lawyer can meet them. When they see that you are also nice, respectful and don’t appear to be the type of person who would be faking or embellishing an injury.
On the flip side, we’ve seen some injured workers who make a huge mistake by calling the defense attorney and trying to debate them as to why their benefits have been denied. That makes you appear nuts and certainly makes them want to fight your case.
In general though you should know that they don’t care, at least not to the extent that you do and I do (or anyone in our network does) about you getting a good result. That doesn’t mean that they won’t do their job. They will. They have pride in getting a good result. But they aren’t trying to ruin your life and certainly won’t give the effort that a caring attorney in your corner will.
Bottom line is that you shouldn’t stress out about them. Just don’t give them a reason to want to give an extra effort against you. And if you see your attorney having a pleasant conversation with them, know that is a good thing. When they hate your lawyer they will hate you by association.