While I always encourage people to work things out with their lawyer if they can, when you have a crappy one and know it, it’s best to switch before it’s too late. It doesn’t cost anything to switch work comp lawyers in Illinois and if it can you on the right track it’s worth it.
While the number one complaint I get as to why someone wants to change lawyers is that their attorney doesn’t call them back, a close second is that they don’t feel like their attorney is doing anything for them.
For the people who feel (usually rightly so) that their lawyer isn’t a fighter, many will say something like, “I feel he’s working for the insurance company” or “I feel that the insurance company must have paid him off.”
I can assure you that insurance companies don’t pay off lawyers and that while it feels like your lawyer is working for them not you, it’s really more that they are lazy, incompetent and/or just not good at their job.
That said, I get why some people feel this way. A recent caller to our firm was told two things that are so blatantly false that I can get why she felt the attorney was not in her corner and on the take.
- Her benefits had been cut off and she went to an IME exam (also known as a Section 12 exam). It’s been many weeks and while benefits are still cut off and supposedly it’s because of the IME, they won’t give her lawyer a copy of the report. He told her that he is not entitled to one. That’s just not true.
- She’s been off work without pay for six weeks. Her attorney told her he can’t file a trial motion until she’s been off for 12 weeks. Also way false.
These blatant lies are because the lawyer either doesn’t want to get the case ready for trial or doesn’t know the law. It’s not a favor to the insurance company, at least not intentionally.
So while I highly encouraged her to switch firms and can get her much more aggressive and competent representation, it’s not a matter of a lawyer being on the take.
These lies were really some of the worst I’ve heard by an attorney as of late. It’s pretty pathetic. The good news in this case is that it’s not too late to right the ship.