There is a Chicago workers’ compensation law firm that promotes themselves by saying that they recover compensation for their clients in 98% of cases. That sounds impressive and like they are real winners. The reality though is that if you settle a case for $500 because otherwise you’d lose at trial, this still counts as “recovering compensation” for a client even though it’s essentially nothing.
A lot of people who call me know that they have a tough case and want an attorney with a great won/loss record at trial. Just like in baseball though where you can be the winning pitcher and give up 10 runs or the losing pitcher and only give up one run, won/loss records are misleading and in the law, they don’t actually exist.
In sports there is a clear winner and loser at the end of every game. In your legal case that might be true, but there’s no way for anyone else to know that. Let me explain.
Let’s say you get hurt at work and need a lumbar fusion. You’ve missed 30 weeks of work by the time the trial happens and your medical bills aren’t paid. The case was denied because of an IME report, but we file for penalties and fees because we think that report is bogus. We go to trial and the Arbitrator says you were hurt at work, you need surgery, the insurance company has to pay for it and they need to pay you for all of your lost time. The Arbitrator denies the penalties motion because of the IME. So we won most of the issues, but not all of them. Is that a win? To me it is, but to some clients it wouldn’t be.
Now let’s say it’s a case that can be settled. We think the best case scenario is $200,000 and the worst is $80,000. After a bunch of negotiations they make a best and final offer of $190,000.00. That’s 95% of what your best result could be. Is that a win? To some it wouldn’t be and to most it would. But there’s no way to realistically measure that if you aren’t involved in the case. In another case we were involved in a while ago, the best case scenario was 175k and we think we could have gotten there, but the client took a 125k offer because it was a sure thing and would allow him to move out of state and start a new life. That was a win for him, so that’s all that really matters.
Bottom line is that there is no lawyer that has the best win/loss record. It doesn’t exist and anyone who tries to market you on that is likely just trying to sell you with something that sounds great. What you want is a lawyer that will fight for you to get the best result possible. It may not sound as great as someone who is trying to give you a gimmick as to why they are so great, but it’s in your best interests.
If you’d like our help with a case or just have questions, call us at any time. It’s free and confidential.