We recently were involved in a case for a client who had a serious back injury while working for the Chicago Transit Authority. He came to us at a time when he already had a lawyer. While we encourage you to stay with your attorney if you can, in this case the previous law firm was clearly not fighting for the client.
At the time the case came in there was a settlement offer for $40,000.00. The lawyer on the case who wasn’t doing whatever he could told the client that was the best he was going to be able to do and that the CTA wouldn’t budge. Fortunately the injured worker called for a second opinion because he couldn’t believe that was all the case was worth.
Long story short is that it took some time, but the case resolved earlier this year for $200,000.00. Clearly the CTA “budged.” It does take a little more work on a case when you are dealing with any Government agency, but that doesn’t mean that they should get a big discount as to what your case is worth.
Clearly there is a huge difference between $200,000.00 and 40 k. There is also the matter of having all of your medical bills paid.
This wasn’t typical of how most cases work, but it’s also not the first time we’ve been involved in a case where this happened. When the caller came to us, he wanted someone really aggressive and we connected him with an attorney in our network who fits that description to a tee.
The bottom line for you as an injured worker is that while you can’t hold on to unrealistic expectations – you aren’t getting a million dollars no matter how crappy the insurance company is treating you – you also shouldn’t take an unfair offer. If your attorney is recommending a settlement amount he should outline why it’s fair. “That’s the best they will do” isn’t telling you why it’s a good offer. They should give you a range of what your best and worse case scenarios are at trial, which is more likely, why you might win, why you might lose, etc.
After that has happened, you can make an educated decision as to what you want to do. While most cases settle, there is no law that makes you settle and if you have a big injury you shouldn’t unless the offer is really strong or if there is a big risk of nothing if you go to trial.
But if your worst case scenario at trial is around 40k and your best case scenario is around 250k then settling for 40k is just dumb and means you and the lawyer are leaving a bunch of money on the table.