An injured Illinois worker who appeared to be having a bad experience with his current attorney wanted to know if I knew a way to look up his lawyer’s won/loss record or that of any other attorney.

It’s a great question, but it’s not possible to do it.

There is no way to accurately measure a win or a loss in a case except when the Arbitrator finds in favor of the insurance company on all issues.  Otherwise, the reality of how cases work makes it impossible.

First off, about 95% of cases settle.  I’ve seen some shady lawyer who claim that they have recovered money for their clients in 98% of the cases they’ve handled.  That sounds impressive until you realize that in even the worst case around, the insurance company will usually offer a small amount like $100 or $500 to just make the case go away and not have to pay a defense lawyer. So if you are hurt at work and your bills don’t get paid, but the insurance company gives you $100, would you consider that a win?  I wouldn’t, but a law firm can still claim that as a “win.” In other cases you might get $100,000.00, but if it’s worth $200,000.00 is that really a win?  Not for me.  Not a loss either, but either way it’s impossible for anyone who keeps stats to know if it was a good result or not.

Second off, let’s say we go to trial and the issues are 1. Did you have a work related accident?  2. If you did, should the insurance company pay for the surgery you had? 3. Should the insurance company pay for the 30 weeks of work you missed? 4. What is your case worth?

If at trial the Arbitrator says yes you were hurt at work, that’s a win.  But if he doesn’t say the surgery you had was needed, that’s a loss.  If he only orders them to pay for 20 of the weeks you missed not all 30, that’s not really a win or a loss. And if he awards you $40,000.00 in damages, but your lawyer wanted $60,000.00 and the insurance company was offering nothing, that’s also not really a win or loss.  It’s mostly a win, but not as good as you probably hoped for.

Anyone who looked at that result and saw that the accident was found to be work related would have to assume it was a win, but again that’s not really clear cut if you know all the facts.  Nobody has the ability to talk to all of the lawyers in the 4,000+ cases which go to trial every year and find out how they and their clients feel about the results.  And even if you could, most people wouldn’t be honest about it.

What you really want is an experienced attorney who focuses their practice mostly on work related injuries and someone who will fight for you.  That means they are communicating and doing the work necessary to increase your chances of the best result possible.  Unfortunately you often don’t know that they aren’t the right fit until after you’ve hired them.

Bonus tip, if any attorney tries to market themselves to you by saying how they’ve never lost a trial or their success rate is 98%, run in the opposite direction.

As always, fill out our contact form to the right or call the number at the top of the page if you want a free consultation about anything related to Illinois workers’ compensation law.