We repeat a lot of themes in our blog posts because there are a few items that are really important no matter what the facts of the case are. For example, it’s really important that you be honest and not exaggerate your symptoms or lie to us or a doctor.
Another important item that we often discuss is the importance of doing a thorough examination of all the possible case facts. There was a case in the paper recently that highlighted how failure to do that by your lawyer could cost you millions.
When you hire us or any other Illinois work comp law firm, you are hiring us to represent you for that case only. In other words, if you are going through a divorce, we are not the lawyer for you and can do nothing other than suggest someone for you to hire.
That said, we do have a duty to analyze every issue that could be related to your injury. The case in the paper shows what an amazing job the attorney (not my firm, but I’m always happy to recognize good work) who handled the case did.
The injured worker fell off a ladder and tore his ACL and had other injuries. It was a severe injury that required a career change. From a workers’ compensation standpoint that case has good value and is probably worth a few hundred thousand dollars depending on his age, wage loss and permanent restrictions. Most work injury attorneys would have filed the claim and handled it.
But the attorney in the paper went a step further. He investigated the accident and learned that another company provided the ladder and mandated that he use it. He then discovered that the ladder was more than 40 years old and not up to OSHA standards for what a ladder needs to be to be used during the type of activity the worker was performing.
So while you can’t sue your employer for negligence, you can sue a different company. The lawyer sued the general contractor and was able to get a much larger award than the workers’ compensation case would have provided by itself. In this case, he got $2.4 Million which is a tremendous result and will truly compensate the worker for his loss of future earning potential.
I assume that a workers’ compensation case was also filed and that’s the best thing to do in the short term because it provides compensation for time off of work and pays for all of the medical bills.
Big picture though is that you have to look at every angle. We’ve been in cases where we’ve recognized that medical malpractice occurred and made sure our client was connected with a lawyer who has great success with those claims and did so before it was too late. Sometimes it’s obvious like a car accident, but other times like with this ladder it’s not as clear. Your lawyer needs to investigate everything or connect you with someone who can.
And if they don’t, it could literally cost you millions.