I was out of my office in the afternoon the other day and got a message from my secretary that a woman had called looking for answers on her Illinois workers’ compensation case. So far so good because that’s what I do for a living.
But the rest of the message was weird. She said that she “went to arbitration seven months ago and wants to know how long after an arbitration until the Judge cuts a check.”
First problem is that the message makes no sense and I know it’s not the fault of my very smart assistant. It’s just a very confused worker. So ignoring that Judge’s don’t write the checks, let’s talk about the real problem here.
The real problem is that she for whatever reason doesn’t feel that she can ask her own lawyer a question. If you can’t call your lawyer and ask their opinion or shoot them an e-mail, why is it exactly that you are choosing to work with them?
I’ll ask people that question and I’ll hear stuff like: “He screams at me” or “They never return my phone call” or “They talk to me like I’m stupid or bothering them” or “I don’t even know their name and I’ve never actually talked to an attorney” or “He seems like he’s always too busy.”
I could give probably 20 more examples of shameful opinions that injured workers hold of their attorneys.
My next question is always, “Why don’t you fire them?” Most people don’t realize that they can switch lawyers and it won’t cost them any money. They don’t pay more in lawyer fees if they get a new attorney and they don’t have to write a check to the first firm.
Of course it’s not ideal, but if you feel like you can’t even talk to them or get any answers, then are they really representing you anyway? The sad truth is that people switch Illinois work injury law firms all the time because they realize that they made a bad hiring decision and want to switch before it’s too late.
In our state wide network, we never guarantee a result, but we do promise to be honest (even if it’s not what you want to hear) and fight for you. To me, that’s the bare minimum you should expect, but sadly there are a lot of firms who don’t do that.
Remember, this is your life and just like you deserve good treatment at a restaurant, you deserve good service from your lawyer. If you aren’t getting it then it’s time to look around.