In most Illinois workers’ compensation cases, if you have a surgery your case is worth more money. It’s not always true, but it usually is a good indicator that your injury was very serious.
As an injured worker, there is a law in Illinois which says you can not be forced to have a surgery. For many people, declining surgery makes sense. Neck and back fusions are very serious business. A rotator cuff repair is usually a six month recovery. Often a surgery makes sense, but that’s for you to decide. It’s your body.
I’ve never told a client to have a surgery and never will. I’ll tell you that almost everyone I know has had a good result from carpal tunnel surgery for example, but for me to tell you that you should have a surgery or have to have one would be malpractice. You and your doctor should sort that out. A good lawyer will draw on their experiences but not offer medical advice.
No attorney I know of would tell a client they have to have a surgery. But I sadly just learned that there is one out there.
A caller to my office needs knee surgery for a torn meniscus and is undecided about having it or not because they are able to walk and are scared of anesthesia. Currently they are authorized off of work by their doctor, but the insurance company is refusing to pay TTD benefits until they have the surgery. Basically they are trying to force the worker to have a surgery so they can close the case out sooner. For now she’s trying to get by with pain medication and physical therapy.
Her attorney told her that she has to have the surgery because it will make the case worth more and that they won’t fight to get the TTD payments until the surgery takes place. This is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.
Either the attorney 1. Is trying to make the case worth more money out of their own interest. 2. Does not know the law. 3. Is beyond lazy or 4. All of the above. I believe it’s the first one because reportedly this attorney said that they only go to trial on serious injuries. Forget the fact that they agreed to help this person. Forget morals.
Whatever it is, it’s pathetic and really legal malpractice. This attorney does not deserve to have a law license or any clients.
The good news is that a new lawyer can easily fix the problem with a trial motion and a petition for penalties. The bad news is that she’s going through this at all.
What’s crazy is that while a surgery will certainly make the case worth more money, it’s not as if it becomes worth that much more. Also, the lawyer and the client can make money by filing for penalties for benefits being unfairly denied.
I don’t get these types of lawyers. Never had. Never will.