If you read our blog, you know that we love to point out lawyer lies. I have a good one for you.
A woman called me, wanting to know if she should settle her case. She was in a car accident as a passenger at work and sustained a big leg injury. All of her time off work was paid. All of her medical bills were paid. There is no defense to the claim she got hurt at work. She had never hurt her leg before this. The IME doctor agreed that her injury was work related and that her treatment was reasonable and necessary. Literally the only issue remaining in this case is what is it worth.
Her Chicago work comp attorney had seemed to have done a good job up until this point, so her next statement stunned me. She told me that her lawyer said the following: “I went before the Arbitrator for a pre-trial. He recommended that we settle your case and said that you should take it because if you don’t, you could end up with nothing.”
There are a few certainties in life. Death, taxes and that there’s no way the Arbitrator said that.
Going to trial has it’s risks of course. But in this case, the only way the injured worker would get nothing at trial is if she got on the witness stand and said she made the whole thing up. What is really going on here is that she hired a lawyer who is either lazy and doesn’t want to get ready for trial or a coward who instead of explaining why the offer is good but also telling the client it’s her call and he’ll go to trial if she wants, instead chooses to lie in order to pressure her.
It’s really pathetic. Since most cases aren’t worth a ton, many Illinois work comp law firms take on a lot of cases, more than some can handle. They think that if they have the huge volume it will all add up in the end for them. What ends up happening to some is that they are too busy or too disorganized to give good service so most of the clients suffer. And when it comes down to doing the right thing or taking the easy way out, they lie and assume the client won’t know any better.
I have no idea what this case is really worth as I haven’t seen the medical records. I do know though, especially when it comes to a bigger injury, that if you, the client, doesn’t want to settle you can always go to trial. An attorney’s job is to help you make an educated decision and then be an advocate for that.
Questions? Nightmare stories of your own? Just a question? Whatever you need, feel free to call us at 312-346-5578 for a free and confidential consultation.