This is one of those Illinois work comp law questions that should be answered in one sentence and not worthy of a blog post.  Your lawyer should advance all the costs on a case and will get reimbursed if they make a recovery for you.

If I was going to add anything to that it would be that in most cases the costs are less than $100 and are usually just to get medical records.  If you have to go to trial and take a doctor’s deposition, the costs could be a few thousand dollars.  Again, that money is advance by the lawyer and comes out of the settlement. So if your case was settled for $50,000.00 and the costs were $2,000.00, you’d net $38,000.00, tax free (50k  minus 20% lawyer fee = 40k minus 2k in expenses = m38k).

The reason I’m writing this post is I’ve had a couple of people contact me who have lawyers that have said the injured worker needs to pay for all the costs. What ?!?!?!?!

In one of the cases it was a major injury that had one issue, whether or not the worker could return to work.  If the answer was no, the case would have still been worth around $100,000.00 due to the high wage and severe medical treatment.  In other words, the attorney would have no doubt that they’d get reimbursed their money.  The other case wasn’t worth as much, but the attorney was balking at even paying to get medical records which would have cost around $75.  It’s insane.

All I can conclude is that these lawyers are either broke (bad sign as to how they run a business) or don’t focus on work comp (also a bad sign).  It’s been years since I’ve heard anything like this.

If your lawyer asks you to pay for the expenses in order for them to do their job, tell them no.  It’s a cost of doing business and a risk they should take on if they are willing to handle your case. If your claim was worth $2,500 then of course they shouldn’t spend $2,000 on a deposition. If the case has real value or likely real value then this is their job. Plain and simple.

If they won’t pay the expenses, you should run and get a new firm. It’s not ideal, but neither is having someone who won’t be in your corner or fight for you.  You get one shot at your case and need someone who gives you the best chance for a good result.