I just read about a case (not handled by us or anyone in our network) about a very greedy Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.
He had settled his client’s case, but petitioned the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for more money after the settlement contracts were approved. His client had received a Medicare Set Aside which is money funded by the insurance company for future medical care related to the work injury. Basically, you have to consider what Medicare might have to pay some day and the insurance company pays that amount.
This money is not negotiated, but rather is done by authorized companies who review medical records and determine what care will be needed and what that will cost. 100% of that money is to go to the client.
This lawyer asked for some of that money after the case was closed. His request was denied for a few reasons.
- Lawyers can’t re-open cases to get more money. Clearly he’s looking out for himself, not the client.
- The Commission noted that he didn’t do anything extraordinary to warrant a fee higher than the 20% allowed by law.
- Most importantly, it’s against the law to take a fee on a Medicare Set Aside.
I’m going to say it again, your attorney has to get you a Medicare Set Aside if needed and can’t take a fee for doing it.
This is part of our jobs and part of the 20% we get for representing you. We have to do it morally (because it’s in your best interests) and legally (if the Government thinks we didn’t consider their interests, they can go after us to pay the bills).
I’ll file this one under shocked, not shocked. We see this gross behavior all the time. Quite honestly, this attorney should probably lose their license because they made an illegal payment request.
For your purposes, if you think there’s any chance you are going to need future medical care, before you settle the case, ask your attorney about a Medicare Set Aside. And if they want more money for doing it, know that they can’t do that.