I’m not afraid to call out lawyers on their bad behavior, especially some of the ones in Chicago that take on hundreds of cases and treat their clients terribly because they are too busy.
I also talk about lies that are told by lawyers and insurance companies. One avid reader called me for a friendly chat. He settled his case years ago, but likes to read my blog, “just in case.” During our conversation he asked me what the most common lie I hear is.
I thought long and hard about that one. Unfortunately there are many to choose from. But I think the biggest is from lawyers who will do anything to sign a case up. Their lie is telling you what the case is worth when you first call them even though they have no idea what the extent of your injury is or how well you will recover.
There’s one Chicago firm that apparently makes a habit out of telling callers at the get go that their case is worth at least $100,000.00. People like round, big numbers like that and they use that false promise to get you to sign up.
Most Illinois work injury claims aren’t worth that much and even the best lawyer in the world can’t turn a $20,000.00 case in to a six figure case.
Bigger picture, when you’ve had a recent injury, nobody knows if you are going to have surgery, if eventually you’ll have permanent restrictions or even if you’ll ever be able to work again. Those facts are the most important ones in determining your case value.
An honest lawyer would tell a potential client that they can’t tell them what the case is worth, but they’ll fight to get the most possible for them. We have motivation to get you a high settlement as the more we get for you, the more we get for us. Some firms don’t approach cases that way because they don’t want to bust their butts to put an extra 5-10 thousand in their clients pockets.
What happens with this lie is a case that’s worth $30,000 won’t settle because the client was told two years ago to expect $100,000. I don’t blame the clients. Their lawyer lied to them and created false expectations. As much as you shouldn’t spend the money before it’s in your pocket, it’s human nature to think that in a year or two you’ll have a certain amount as the result of the injury.
My advice to you is if a lawyer tells you at the initial consultation that your case is going to be worth a certain amount, make them tell you how they know that without seeing your medical records and ultimate recovery. Actually my advice is to run for the hills and find a different firm. You don’t want to hire someone who will tell you what they think you want to hear. It almost never works out for anyone.