If you are reading this, there’s probably been some sort of pop up box that invites you to chat with me. When I’m in the office, you get to chat with a real live lawyer. When I’m out, we have an answering service that will immediately send your questions to me, and we call back right away.
Anyway, a recent chatter was nervous because he had a trial coming up. He told me that he was hurt at work and tore his rotator cuff. He hired his lawyer because the union told him to, and now he was scheduled to go to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for an arbitration hearing. He asked me, “Am I going to win my trial?”
I explained to him that I had almost no facts about the case including: how he got hurt, what he told the doctors, what treatment he’s had, whether or not there was a failed drug test, has there been an IME, has there been surveillance, when he reported it to his supervisor, what his job duties are, how credible his doctor is, how many cases has he had in the past, did he give a recorded statement, what the medical records say and were there any witnesses.
All of these things and more go in to whether or not you will win your trial. I didn’t know any of the answers, but you know who should have the answers? His lawyer. That’s why that guy is getting paid, and it’s his job to come up with a strategy, prepare you for trial and evaluate how likely it is that you are going to win or lose.
This happens sometimes with union recommended lawyers as some can be more worried about keeping the union happy than actually doing a good job for their real client. I can’t imagine having a client who thought they couldn’t ask me these questions. A lawyer should be approachable. A lawyer should want to help.
Beyond all of that, if your lawyer really is taking your case to trial, he should be reaching out to you. I am a runner and I can’t imagine doing a race without training. In the same regard I can’t imagine going to trial without doing whatever I can to prep my client. I don’t like to lose and if I’m not doing that it greatly increases the chances of losing.
And that’s really what it’s all about. Preparation. You can have all the facts on your side, but if your lawyer doesn’t ask the right questions you lose. If they are fumbling through papers and it hurts your credibility, you lose. If you give the wrong answer because you didn’t understand the question, you don’t win. The facts are the most important but if you aren’t prepared a winning case quickly becomes a loser.
If you want to talk about ANYTHING, just get in touch with us for a free consultation any time.