Since I will talk to anyone for free, I get a lot of calls and I hear a lot of stories about bad lawyers doing dumb, rude, shady and usually just lazy things. There isn’t much I haven’t heard in 20 years of doing this because most of the complaints we hear about are from about four firms in Chicago and two downstate. So we hear the same things over and over because these firms do the same things over and over to their suffering clients.
Every now and then I hear something new about a different firm, but the one I heard a couple weeks ago blew my mind.
A guy called me who had been seriously hurt at work and had major surgeries. He wanted to know what his case was worth which is not an unusual question. He said he already had an attorney so I told him that the lawyer, who knows the case facts and has his medical records, would be in a much better position to answer that question. His response was the crazy part.
He told me that his lawyer told him that as the client it was his job to say what he wanted. This wasn’t after the lawyer gave him a range of what the case was worth, he just told the client to tell him how much he wanted to get.
That is nuts and what’s even crazier is that the attorney works for a reputable law firm.
You hire a lawyer for their expertise and part of that comes from them knowing how to value cases through (hopefully) having handled thousands of cases before you. What if the case is worth $250,000 and the client guesses it’s worth 100k? Well they’d lose a ton of money. What if the client wants $10 million when it’s worth 50 grand at most. Then the lawyer has created a problem that will lead to distrust.
Your attorney should be the head coach of the case. You are the owner, but an owner hires a coach to run things. You need them to offer advice along the way even when it’s unsolicited, protect you, be there to answer questions, defend you, deal with the insurance adjuster, deal with the other lawyer, resolve unpaid bills or late TTD checks, prep you for testimony or an IME and when it comes time to settle, explain to you the range of what your case might be worth and how to get the highest end of the range.
In this case, the client didn’t ask about settlement and had only recently been discharged. He doesn’t have a final evaluation report from his doctor which addresses his future medical needs and how the injury will impact him. He also hasn’t returned to work. All of those things affect what the value of the case could be. Why a Chicago work comp attorney would do this is beyond me. I can only hope that they aren’t doing it to other clients. If they are, I’m sure we’ll eventually hear about it.
If you have questions about what your case is worth or need anything related to Illinois worker comp law, contact us any time for a free, confidential consultation.